Supporting Families Conference

Family Law Reform Now - 1 September 2023

The 'Supporting Families' event focused on reform to care proceedings and featured an exciting array of speakers, including:

  • Dr Judith Masson
  • Dr Koldo Casla
  • Dr Samantha Davey
  • Dr Jaime Lindsey
  • Celeste Greenwood (barrister)
  • Bessy Eigbefoh (solicitor)

The event aimed to explore ways of better supporting families in public law court proceedings and to discuss potential reforms.  


9.20 - 10.30 – The challenges with law and policy in care proceedings – Session 1 (Chaired by Charlotte Bendall)

9.20-9:30 – Introductions and project introduction with Dr Charlotte Bendall (Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Birmingham)

9:30-9:50 – ‘Ending care orders: The case for a new approach’ - Professor Judith Masson (Emeritus Professor, University of Bristol) 

9:50-10:10 – ‘The challenges for practitioners and parents within care proceedings’ Celeste Greenwood (Barrister-at-Law, Exchange Chambers)

10:10-10:30 – Discussion

10.45-12.25 – The challenges with the court system – Session 2 (Chaired by Samantha Davey)

10.45-11.05 – ‘Keeping families together – is that possible in 26 weeks?’ - Celeste Greenwood (Barrister-at-Law, Exchange Chambers) 

11.05-11.25 – ‘Experiences as a solicitor working with parents whose children have been taken into care’ - Elizabeth Eigbefoh (Solicitor, Francis Solicitors Limited)

11:25-11:45 – ‘Care proceedings, the Court of Protection and Supporting Disabled Mothers’ - Dr Jaime Lindsey (Associate Professor, University of Reading)

11.45-12.05 – ‘Whose Responsibility? Support for Parents with Learning Disabilities in and before Childcare Proceedings’Dr Mary Baginsky (Reader in Social Care, King’s College London)

12.05-12.30 – Discussion

1.20 – 3.00 – Supporting Parents through the system and beyond – Session 3 (Chaired by Celeste Greenwood)

1.20-1.40 – ‘Silenced by the system: can birth mothers whose children have been adopted find a voice via the artist’s book?’ Dr Samantha Davey (Lecturer in Law, University of Essex)

1.40-2.00– ‘Parents after adoption proceedings – findings from a qualitative study in Northern Ireland’ – Dr Sarah Hansen (Practice Fellow, Queens University of Belfast)

2.00-2.20 – ‘Protection and Assistance to the Family: Interpreting and Applying Article 10 ICESCR from Learnt and Lived Experiences’ – Dr Koldo Casla (Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Essex)

2.20-2.40 - Discussion

3.00-5.00 – Session 3 – Supporting policy change – Session 4 (Chaired by Rehana Parveen)

3.00-3.20 – ‘Set up to fail: Women’s experiences of psychiatric and psychological expert witness assessments during care proceedings’ - Omolade Adedapo (PAUSE) and Anna Rickards (PAUSE)

3.20-3.40 – ‘The power of lived experience: changing hearts and minds’ - Angela Frazer-Wicks, MBE

3.40-4.00 – ‘The Jurisdiction over Child’s Welfare and Excesses of the Local Authority in Child Proceedings: A Need for Parliamentary Action’ - Olugbenga Falade (PhD Student, University of Hull)

4.00-4.20 – ‘Expressions of Self: Race, Religion and Representation of Care-Experienced Children and Young People’ Dr Kusha Anand’ (Post-doctoral Research Associate, University of Coventry)

4.20-4.50 – Discussion

4.50-5.00 – Concluding Comments