Guide to PLO or Pre-proceedings Meetings
When social services are very concerned about the welfare of a child, the social worker may wish to consider taking the case to Court so they can make Court Orders to protect the child.
We know that if you’ve been told by Social Services that they’ve applied to Court because of concerns surrounding your child, you’ll likely feel worried and overwhelmed.
You might also be anxious about the process of going to Court, the information that will be relied upon and how the judge will make their final decision about your child. This is where we can begin to alleviate some of your concerns.
The views of Social workers form an essential part of the judge’s decision-making process, but their opinion won’t be the only one heard in Court, we’ll discuss this in more detail below.
For initial advice, get in touch with our expert Care Proceedings team.
Going to Court should be a last resort and unless a child is in immediate danger, social workers are required to first work with parents before considering a Court application.
If the Local Authority is concerned about your child, they may set up what’s called a Public Law Outline (PLO) or pre-proceedings meeting.
If you’re invited to a PLO meeting, you’ll receive a ‘letter before proceedings’ which will outline the issues that children’s social work services have identified. You’ll be informed of a date and time on which you are invited to attend a meeting. The social worker could apply to take the matter to Court if you don’t attend.
It’s only in extreme cases that the Local Authority will go directly to Court to apply for an Emergency Protection Order or Interim Care Order. This will only be the case if it is believed that a child is in immediate danger and they need to be moved to a safe environment.
The Court will usually try to keep to a timescale of 26 weeks after the initial application to Court to make a final decision, but this may take longer in more complex cases.
Get in touch with our expert Care Proceedings Solicitors for further advice tailored to your situation.
Fill in the form below to get in touch with one of our dedicated team members, or call our team today on: 0808 239 4184