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5.0 out of 5 stars For Family Law practitioners...., 19 Jan 2014
By 
Phillip Taylor (Richmond Upon Thames, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
AN AUTHORITIATIVE, PRACTICAL AND ACCESSIBLE GUIDE TO THE LAW AND PRACTICE PERTAINING TO CHILDREN IN NEED

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

Following the success of the first edition of "Children in Need", a new second edition of this indispensable handbook from the Legal Action Group has appeared quite quickly. LAG is an organisation consistently admirable for its increasing list of practical titles for the busy practitioner and this title enhances its reputation.

Written in clear and robust prose, this handbook led by Ian Wise QC maintains a practical approach to a complex and sensitive subject: namely the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged children. Not only does it assist practitioners and advisers but it is a valuable and accessible resource for claimants and local authorities as well.

The key purpose of the book, as the subtitle indicates, is to explain the statutory obligations of local authorities towards vulnerable children and their families. In the words of the authors, `the fundamental legal obligations are straightforward; the needs of vulnerable children should be met to ensure proper respect for the dignity of the child.' Children in need, furthermore, are entitled to `participate in any decision taken about their lives.' The book of course elaborates on these principles throughout.

The seven authors -- all impressively experienced in handling the cases discussed -- are careful to point out the distinction between powers and duties of a public body such as a local authority: They assert rightly that `it is only when a public body has a "duty" to act, that `a child has a "right" to some benefit or service.'

This rights-based ethos on the part of the editorial team provides cogent analysis of domestic and international law, focusing on Part 3 of the Children Act 1989. It also informs and drives the coverage and analysis of the more recent material set out in the book including recent key cases. Dealing with case-law developments pertaining to migrant children and their families, it also cites details of the new National Standards for Youth Justice Services (2013).

The wealth of further resources contained in this volume is certainly impressive, including the tables of cases, statutes, statutory instruments and guidance. There is also a table of international treaties, conventions and directives. Also note the five appendices which include primary and secondary legislation and further guidance. Easily navigable, the book provides an index of over twenty pages at the back.

Children in need, their families, their advisers and social workers too, will benefit greatly from the information and insights provided in this erudite, authoritative and carefully researched handbook. The law is stated as at 1 October 2013, although wherever possible, further developments have been included.
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