Pre-Proceedings (Public Law Outline)

When social workers are concerned about the welfare of a child to the extent that they are considering taking the case to court, this is known as the ‘pre-proceedings’ or ‘Public Law Outline’ (PLO) process. It is often an escalation of child protection procedures.

The social services department should send a letter sometimes known as a ‘PLO letter’, ‘pre-proceedings letter’ or ‘letter before proceedings’. This should set out the concerns of the social services department. It should also set out what the expectations of the social services department are, if proceedings are to be avoided.

The letter will invite you to a meeting known as a ‘PLO meeting’ or ‘pre-proceedings meeting’. You are able to have a solicitor present at such meetings who can advise and support you before, during and after the meeting and help negotiate an agreement to try to avoid the need to go to court. The hope is that the parents can recognise the concerns and take steps to address them.

loading staff

Assessments

During this process assessments may be undertaken by the social services department or they may arrange for assessments to be undertaken by other professionals such as psychologists. Drug and/or alcohol testing may be arranged or paternity testing where appropriate.

If the concerns cannot be addressed then the social services department may make an application to court for an interim care order and consideration may be given to the child being placed in foster care.

There may be some cases where the social workers feel that the risk of harm to a child is so great, or the case is so urgent, that the case should go straight to court.

If you have been asked to go to a PLO or pre-proceedings meeting it is important that you seek urgent legal advice. If you have been sent a PLO letter and are a parent or person with parental responsibility you will be entitled to legal aid and you will not have to pay for legal advice.

Stephensons’ family law team has a strong reputation for achieving positive outcomes for its clients. The department was voted the Family Law Firm of the Year in 2014 and is accredited in the Legal 500 and the Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession as ‘leaders in the field of child care’.

For a free, no obligation initial chat with one of our legal advisors call us on 0203 816 0548.

 

Child Proceedings Video Panel

  • Child Care Proceedings - Family Law 

    Head of Stephensons family team Mike Devlin and specialist solicitor Jackie Price talk about our experience representing parents, children and other family members on issues relating to children. No matter how difficult or complicated the circumstances, Stephensons’ experienced child care lawyers are committed to securing the best possible outcome for you and your family.
    [youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI3EitjZneU"]

We're widely accredited for our work - family law

  • Chambers
  • Legal 500

It is our business to deliver legal services that work for our clients, you can trust our specialists to take care of things on your behalf. Over the years our family law team has been recognised by industry awards and accredited for their excellence.

Memberships & accreditations

8.5 out of 10
Trustpilot logo4-stars on trustpilot Based on count 310

We're Great

It is our business to deliver legal services that work for our clients, and you can trust our specialists to take care of things on your behalf.

Our Trustpilot reviews

The level of service that was provided was excellent and one which was professional, understanding and the most important for me was empathy. I myself am a very organised individual and like things done on time without delay, Stephensons understood this and respected what was important to me and for children.
View from a family, children & divorce law client

Stand united against domestic abuse

It’s 2018 and England have reached the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time in 28 years. While most of us will be backing an England win on Wednesday, through every moment of togetherness and excitement, when England wins, there is a...

Read more

Twitter block 1 tweet

Government Green Paper sets out a "fundamental rethink" on social housing

The UK Government has announced a series of proposals on social housing in England.  The measures, outlined in its Social Housing Green Paper , aim to provide tenants with greater power, hold bad practice by landlords to account and tackle the...

Read more

Family reorder

  • Victoria Gethin
  • Mike Devlin
  • ​Karen Atkins
  • ​​Gwyneth John
  • Victoria Melling
  • ​Andrew Mountain
  • Amanda Rimmer
  • Donna Roberts
  • Lauren Day
  • ​Tim Galbraith
  • Kath Geere​​
  • Jackie Price
  • Ceri Thomas
  • Gillian Tuck​
  • Anna White
  • Laura Simmons
  • Lauren Evans
  • ​Hanna Fayle
  • ​Catherine Gaskell
  • Therasa Kenny
  • Claire Pilling

We're always here for you

As an award-winning top 150 law firm, with over 450 staff based in offices across the country, you're never far from the advice you need.

Find your nearest Stephensons office and arrange a meeting

As an award-winning top 150 law firm, with over 450 staff based in offices across the country, you're never far from the advice you need.