We provide a full range of legal services including:
- Separation and Divorce
- Residence and Contact
- Personal Injury
- Adoption and Permanence
- Eviction Actions (Landlord or Tenant)
Separation and Divorce
Following the break-up of any family unit, there will, inevitably, arise issues which require to be resolved. The taking of early advice in relation to these issues is essential. We have extensive experience of dealing with all of the issues which can arise, such as the financial consequences of separation and divorce, and child welfare related issues.
Residence and Contact
When couples with children separate, the most pressing child welfare related issues which generally arise are with whom the child or children of the relationship should live, and whether and under what circumstances the child or children should have contact with the parent with whom they do not live. These issues are now known as ‘residence’ and ‘contact’. Early independent advice should always be sought with a view to minimising, as far as possible, the effects of a separation upon the children of the relationship. We have many years of experience in advising separating spouses or partners in situations such as these.
Should you have been involved in an accident (whether a road traffic accident, an accident at work or tripping in the street) and thereby suffered injury and/or loss in the last three years, we can give advice in relation to the possibility of pursuing a compensation claim against the person or organisation said to be at fault. However, very strict time limits apply to such claims under Scots Law and you are therefore encouraged to take legal advice sooner, rather than later. We are able to assist in these circumstances.
Adoption and Permanence
In certain circumstances, the legal processes by which the welfare of children is safeguarded are applications for adoption orders and permanence orders. Access to legal representation is essential at the earliest possible stage once a decision is made by a Local Authority to pursue or support an application for such an order. If you are affected by an application of this type, or wish to pursue such an application, we can assist with appropriate advice and, in suitable circumstances, representation.
The issue of a child’s parentage is fundamental to a child’s identity. In cases where parentage is in doubt or is disputed, there is a pressing need for early resolution in the interests of all concerned. We are able to assist in instructing the appropriate DNA testing process and progressing the issue appropriately thereafter. Public funding under the Legal Advice and Assistance Scheme may be available, depending on the particular circumstances of the case and your own financial circumstances.
People have a right to live their lives not only without being abused or harassed by others, but also without the fear of being abused or harassed by others. If that right is being infringed, you should be entitled to apply for the protection of the Court, whether that be in the form of an Interdict with Power of Arrest, an Exclusion Order or a Non-Harassment Order. We have extensive experience of applying for protective orders on behalf of clients.
Eviction Actions (Landlord or Tenant)
Whether you are a landlord seeking to bring a tenancy to an end, or a tenant threatened with eviction (for whatever reason), we are able to act on your behalf and provide appropriate advice and, if necessary, representation at Court.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Applications
If you have been the innocent victim of a crime of violence in the last two years, you should be able to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority for an award of compensation. We have very extensive experience of pursuing such applications on behalf of clients and are confident that we will be able to assist you in such circumstances with the benefit of our knowledge of cases of this nature.
At the present time, in particular, there are few of us who do not worry about money in one way or another. Debt is a very real concern for most people and, if you are worried about your financial circumstances and your ability to pay what you owe, early advice is essential. We can help to explain your options to you and assist you with taking the appropriate steps to protect your position with regard to debt.
Adults with Incapacity
It is an unfortunate but inevitable fact of life that, as we get older, our ability to look after our financial affairs and our personal welfare affairs could potentially be affected by the onset of mental illness or old age. In such circumstances, there is a real need for people to be able to take decisions relating to others’ financial affairs and personal welfare. However, these decisions cannot generally be taken in the absence of a properly prepared and registered power of attorney on the one hand, or an intervention/guardianship order granted by a Sheriff on the other. If you think this may be an issue for you, or if you have a family member or loved one who is in the unfortunate position of being incapable of making decisions in relation to matters affecting their financial affairs and/or personal welfare affairs, early advice is recommended. We can assist both with Powers of Attorney and Intervention/Guardianship Orders.
In Scotland, we have a unique system of dealing with the cases of children who are felt to be in need of compulsory measures of care (ie Social Work Department intervention), whether this is due to issues relating to the care which is said to be provided to the child, or because the child is alleged to have committed a criminal offence or offences. The Reporter to the Children’s Hearing can, in these circumstances, convene a Children’s Hearing to consider the case of the child if the Reporter believes that a ground or grounds exist to refer the child to a Children’s Hearing, with these grounds at present being set out in the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. Although Children’s Hearings are intended to be informal and are made up of people with no legal background, complicated factual and legal issues can (and regularly do) arise, and decisions with very far-reaching consequences for children and their families can be made at these hearings. For these reasons, it is essential that parents (and, in appropriate cases, the child) obtain proper and informed advice from an experienced Solicitor, both prior to the hearing itself and thereafter. Appeals against decisions of the Children’s Hearing are taken to the Sheriff Court, and advice and, if appropriate, representation can be made available, according to circumstances. However, as with all appeals, strict time limits apply to challenging a decision of the Children’s Hearing and contact with a Solicitor as soon as possible after the decision in question is essential, as ‘late’ appeals cannot be taken forward.
Referrals from the Children’s Hearing to the Sheriff Court
A referral from the Children’s Hearing to the Sheriff Court is made when there are matters of fact in dispute between the position of the parents of a child or children and that of the Reporter to the Children’s Hearing. They are also made when the child is too young to understand the proceedings at the Children’s Hearing. These cases are referred to the Sheriff Court for evidence to be heard by a Sheriff to decide on any dispute between the parties. Generally speaking, it is in the interests of the child’s parents to have the benefit of legal advice prior to these cases calling in Court.
We have over fifteen years’ experience of dealing with criminal cases of all levels of seriousness, from representing the interests of clients in the Justice of the Peace Court (which was previously known as the District Court and which deals with the least serious criminal charges in Scotland), the Sheriff Court at both summary level (which involves the court hearing cases without a jury and having limited powers of sentence) and under solemn procedure (where trials take place before a jury with increased sentencing powers), and at the High Court of Justiciary (where the most serious criminal cases in Scotland are heard). If you require representation at any criminal court, we will be happy to discuss your case with you and, if appropriate, provide advice and representation.
Following the conviction of an accused person in a criminal court in Scotland and after the court has passed sentence in relation to the offence or offences of which the accused person has been convicted, it is open to the accused person to appeal against conviction and/or sentence, depending upon the particular circumstances of the case in question. We have particular experience of the law and procedures involved in criminal appeal work and are confident that we will be able to represent your interests in such cases with the benefit of many years of experience in relation to this particular field of law.