Letter Before Proceedings/Public Law Outline (PLO)
Posted on: June 14th, 2021
Our Trainee Solicitor, Jessica King has prepared this short blog to explain the process when a Letter of Proceedings has been received from the Local Authority.
What does this mean for you as a Parent?
If you have received a letter from the Local authority called a “Letter Before Proceedings”, it is vitally important that you take the letter to a Solicitor that deals with Family Law as soon as possible so that you can be fully informed and advised at the earliest opportunity.
The letter will provide details of a scheduled meeting which is often referred to as a PLO Meeting, as well as a list of the Local Authority’s concerns to date. The letter will also clearly specify what you can do as a parent avoid matters progressing further and ultimately, into the court arena.
Who will be in attendance at the Meeting?
The meetings are usually attended by the following people:-
- The allocated Social Worker
- The Team Manager who supervises the allocated Social Worker
- Legal representative of the Local Authority
- Parents and any other person with parental responsibility of the child(ren)
- Legal representative of the parents and other person with parental responsibility of the child(ren)
What is the aim of the meeting?
The Local Authority will discuss their concerns with you during the meeting, often in the order of the concerns listed in your letter. You will also have the opportunity to express your views during the meeting and ask any questions if you are unsure of anything. You will also have the opportunity to speak with your Solicitor in advance of the meeting, and during the meeting if necessary.
After the Local Authority have identified all of their concerns, they will tell you what you must do to avoid Care Proceedings being issued. A clear plan will be put forward by the Local Authority to assist you in the coming weeks, and a review meeting will be scheduled, often between 4-6 weeks after the first meeting to monitor your progress.
As a parent or person who holds parental responsibility that has been provided with a letter before proceedings, you will be entitled to non-means testing Family Help (lower) legal aid. This means that after signing the relevant form, you will be entitled to free legal advice during this process, and representation at any meetings during the process regardless of your income.
- If you make the required progress and address the concerns expressed by the Local Authority, the Local Authority will de-escalate their involvement or withdraw their involvement all together.
- If you do not address the concerns or make sufficient progress, the Local Authority will make an application to court to issue Care Proceedings. During these proceedings important decisions will be made in respect of your child(ren) such as where and whom they will live with in the near future and also in the long-term.
At Cygnet Law our staff fully acknowledge that this is an extremely worrying time for parents. We are here to listen, advise and guide you throughout the process.
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