What we do

The ALC is not an organisation representing children’s lawyers or arguing for the interests of lawyers, but an organisation of lawyers representing children.

It exists to promote access to justice for children and young people within the legal system in England and Wales. Within that framework, its aim is to develop and improve the practice of lawyers in meeting the needs of children who become involved in legal processes by promoting standards of best practice and interdisciplinary training.

The ALC is a national association of lawyers working primarily in the area of public child care law. It has over 1200 members, mainly solicitors and family law barristers who represent children, parents and other adult parties, or local authorities. Associate members include legal practitioners, students and academics, Children's Guardians, social workers and other professionals such as medical experts.

The ALC is automatically a stakeholder in respect of all government consultations pertaining to law and practice in the field of children law.

The ALC exists to promote access to justice for children and young people within the legal system in England and Wales in the following ways:

 

Interventions

The ALC has had a long-standing interest in intervening in cases where the wider issues under consideration are relevant to our membership’s aims and interests. To that end, and over the past few years, we have intervened, always on a pro bono basis, in the following important cases:  in the Supreme Court: Williams v London Borough of Hackney [2019] 1 FLR 310 and Re T [2021] UKSC 35 and in the Court of Appeal in Re P-S [2019] 1 FLR 251, , Re T  [2019] 1 FLR 965, Re B [2020] 2 FLR 25  and Bell v The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust [2021] EWCA Civ 1363.

Cases are referred to us in a number of ways but most often either someone on the committee is involved or becomes aware of a case which they think is of wider interest, or one our members contacts us to advise us of such a case.  We continue to welcome those referrals however, please note that any communication with us must be made with due regard to the confidentiality that attaches to children proceedings. We cannot receive information from the proceedings without permission of the court. The provision of documentation to the ALC is always a matter determined by the court (quite often with the consent of the parties) when we apply to intervene. As such, and as the court understands, we will most usually have very limited anonymised information when we make an application to intervene.