New contributor – welcome paralegal Hayley Crossman

Hayley

This is my first post on the Trainee Blog at Stowe Family Law.  I have written pieces for the firm’s Marilyn Stowe blog before but I thought I would use this guest space to talk about studying whilst working full time.

Working full time and studying part time is something which is not going to be unknown for many and those who have undertaken such a task will understand what is required in order to meet the needs of both work life and study life; time management being the key but there is of course much more to it.

I am currently studying for a Masters in Child Care Law and Practice at Keele University and am now working on my dissertation, which I have decided to write on contact with children.  Working within private law, there is never a shortage of examples of contact proceedings and part of the job of a paralegal is to help undertake research on different points of law, emerging case law and amends to legislation. Since starting work at Stowe Family Law in April, after leaving the Family Law team at the Department for Education, I have seen the legislation and policy which I had been working on alive in the real world.  This opportunity to see the law in practice has been vital to the work I am doing outside of Stowe and has fed in to areas of research for my dissertation.  A key part of studying in a work related area is to take every opportunity to learn on the job.  Those studying the LPC whilst working will understand that the working day is full of opportunities to practice the core skills taught on the LPC course.

Zoe’s recent post on the enforcement of Contact Orders is an area which is currently under consideration and is key to any discussion on contact.  Needless to say, it is a news article which I am sure I will refer to within my dissertation.

But for today I want to look at M (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1147 which considers the appeal against an order refusing the father’s right to contact with his children given that there had been a history of extreme domestic violence.  So, on my train ride home (again, making the most of the time available to me) as I look out of the window and with this case in mind, I will be considering the following: contact may not always be appropriate but what has to be proven to deny it completely; and with indirect contact options available, should a child be denied access to a birth parent completely?

Hopefully, at some point I will be able to argue this question with more certainty and authority but for now it is a starting point.  I hope future blogs I write will bring out other issues to consider and authorities to influence discussions in this area.  Every day is a school day, and not just for trainee solicitors and paralegals.

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