Friday, September 18, 2015

Book Review: Good Practice in Child Care Cases, 3rd Edition

Good Practice in Child Care Cases, 3rd Edition

£39.95 – Published by Law Society Publishing: August 2015

There are undoubtedly benefits of working from home. However, there are also downsides. One of which is that it is extremely difficult to concentrate when work is being done (in this case, a complete new kitchen) in the room next door, including power cuts and other inconveniences. I had intended to leave this review until the work was done, but as it is now clear that the work is likely to take rather longer than originally anticipated, I thought I would go ahead now, albeit in a much briefer form, particularly as the EPUB version of this book is due for publication next week.

I have, of course, previously reviewed the 2nd edition of Good Practice in Child Care Cases (it seems remarkable that nearly five years have elapsed since then), so I would refer the reader to that for an explanation of what this volume is about, rather than repeating myself. (In short, to quote the cover blurb, the book is "a concise guide to best practice for solicitors acting in public law Children Act cases, whether they are acting for a local authority, parent, or a child".)

So, what is new about the 3rd edition? At first glance, not a lot. The two volumes are of almost identical length, and the contents of each are similar, with the newer edition having an extra chapter on legal aid and costs information, but fewer appendices. As to the latter, we of course now have the updated PLO (contained in PD 12A) and the CAP (PD 12B).

Looking a little deeper I have, in the short time available to me, attempted to compare the main text of the two editions. It has not been possible to compare word for word (a task I wouldn't have undertaken even if I had had the time!), so I have just picked a few sections at random. The clear impression from this exercise is that the text, even if not revised, has been subjected to a thorough review, to reflect the many changes that have affected child care work over the last five years. The new edition may look like the old, but it is very different 'under the hood'.

As Sir James Munby points out in the foreword, Good Practice in Child Care Cases is a supplement to the Law Society's Family Law Protocol, the fourth edition of which is due to be published on the 30th of October. Clearly, just as the Protocol is an essential fixture on the bookshelves of all family lawyers, Good Practice in Child Care Cases is also essential for child care practitioners.

Good Practice in Child Care Cases is available from the Law Society bookshop, in either hardcopy (paperback) or (from the 23rd of September) EPUB form.

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