We advise and represent children (either directly or through their court-appointed guardians), parents and family members on all aspects of care proceedings including:

  • where social services are involved and there is concern about whether the child is safe at home
  • child protection reviews, child in need and child protection plans
  • where the child has been taken or is about to be taken into care
  • where the child may be placed for adoption
  • when family members are caring for a child or wishes to care for a child who is in care or about to be in care
  • when an adult is seeking contact with, or the return of a child who has been in care
  • where a child is being taken into secure accommodation
  • where social services wish to apply for a child assessment order
  • where a child has been taken out of this country and social services are concerned

We have extensive experience in all types of care cases including:

  • where children have been harmed emotionally or physically
  • where children have been sexually abused
  • where parents have learning disabilities, or mental health problems or addiction to alcohol or drugs
  • where one parent has killed the other
  • where children have disabilities or psychiatric illnesses
  • where parents have been in private law dispute and the court makes a care order

Our team

  • We are specialists in the field, offering a full range of services from initial advice to full representation. In emergency situations we have the ability and experience to react to the situation urgently
  • All the solicitors in our team are members of either Resolution (the professional support organisation for family lawyers) or the Association of Lawyers for Children, or both. Many of the solicitors in the team undertake committee work for Resolution
  • We are members of NAGALRO (National Association of Guardians ad litem and Reporting Officers) and the Grandparents' Association
  • Partner Samantha Little was Family Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year 2008. She is an accredited trainer for Resolution, and sits on the Surrey Family Justice Council, whose aim is to promote inter-disciplinary training for professionals working in family justice. Lawyers' peer group review Chambers says: "[Samantha] stands out for her expertise in the whole range of child-related work. "She is totally dedicated to her clients," say observers, who praise the sympathetic approach she brings to her work."
  • Partner Sarah Richardson is described by The Legal 500 as someone who "represents vulnerable parties with a rare combination of tenacity and grace".
  • Six of our solicitors are members of the Law Society Children Panel (Sarah Richardson, Samantha Little, Joy Levi, Sarah Inchley and James Sandiford)
  • Samantha Little and Joy Levi have SRA Higher Courts (civil proceedings) rights

Our approach and expertise

  • We have a long-standing reputation in the field of care work. We have represented children, their parents, and family members in serious cases involving the local authority for over 20 years. We are very familiar with cases where social workers are involved
  • Our approach treats the welfare of the children as the most important aspect of each case. We work to ensure that help and support is forthcoming so that children can be cared for by their parents or family members if at all possible
  • We have built excellent professional relationships with the courts, judges, solicitors, barristers, experts and social workers. Much of our work is referred to us by professionals in the field, particularly solicitors and barristers

Law Society Childrens Panel

The Children Panel Accreditation Scheme aims to connect you with practitioners experienced in representing children and other parties under the Children Act 1989.


Law Society Family Panel

The Family Law Accreditation Scheme covers all types of family law work. Members will have shown, to the satisfaction of the Law Society, that they have and will maintain a high level of knowledge, skills, experience and practice in the area of family law.


Russell-Cooke ranked as Top 25 family law firm in UK

Russell-Cooke has been recognised as one of the Top 25 Family Law Firms in the UK by eprivateclient, a leading news service for private client practitioners. 


Legal aid is automatically available to those who are parents of children in care proceedings and may be available to other family members either as of right or on a means and merits basis.

Children automatically qualify for legal aid for care proceedings.

If you are not eligible for legal aid, charges are usually based on our hourly rates plus administrative charges and disbursements. We will provide you with an initial estimate of your likely legal costs and will update this as your requirements or the circumstances of the work change.

We would be pleased to discuss your requirements and produce a costs estimate accordingly based on the type and complexity of the work involved.

CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service)

Cafcass looks after the interests of children involved in family proceedings. They work with children and their families, and then advise the courts on what is considered to be in the best interests of individual children.


Court service

Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS) is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). Our remit is to deliver justice effectively and efficiently to the public. We are responsible for managing the magistrates’ courts, the Crown Court, county courts, the High Court and Court of Appeal in England and Wales.


The Department for Education

The Department for Education was formed on 12 May 2010 and is responsible for education and children's services. All statutory guidance and legislation linked to from this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise, but may not reflect Government policy.


Relate – advice about relationship difficulties

Relate is working to promote health, respect and justice in couple and family relationships. As the country’s largest provider of relationship support, every year we help 150,000 people of all ages at a national network of 77 Centres working at 600 locations as well as by phone, online and via SMS text. Our services include relationship counselling for individuals and couples; family counselling; counselling for children and young people; and sex therapy. We also provide friendly and informal workshops for people at important life stages. Relate campaigns to see relationship support for children, adults and families at the heart of the social justice agenda. We are also the lead agency of the Kids in the Middle coalition, a group of national charities and agony aunts campaigning for better services for separating parents and their children.


Womens Aid

Women's Aid is the national domestic violence charity that helps up to 250,000 women and children every year. We work to end violence against women and children, and support over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the country


Men's Advice Line

The Men's Advice Line is a confidential helpline for all men experiencing domestic violence by a current or ex-partner. This includes all men - in heterosexual or same-sex relationships.



Refuge is a charity for those suffering at the hands of domestic violence and is governed by a council of management consisting of a chair and eleven members. The council of management meets quarterly and exercises its management functions through a system of delegated authority. Members are professional individuals skilled in management and community care, property management, finance, health and safety, equal opportunities, marketing and the law.


Housing and homelessness advice

Shelter is a charity that works to alleviate the distress caused by homelessness and bad housing.



Resolution (formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association) is an association of family solicitors committed to promoting a non-confrontational approach to conflict resolution.


Parenting plans

This publication looks at the issues parents and relatives need to consider when making contact arrangements after a parental separation, and it offers advice on family relationships, supporting the children, and what to do when they are finding it difficult to agree.


Parentline Plus

Parentline Plus is a national charity that works for, and with, parents. In the UK there are over 24 million people who parent – it’s not just mums and dads who do it. Parentline Plus works to offer help and support through an innovative range of free, flexible, responsive services - shaped by parents for parents.

Click here for further information

Families Need Fathers

Families Need Fathers seeks to obtain, for the children, the best possible blend of both parents in the lives of children; enough for the children to realise that both parents are fully involved in their lives. Legally, parents should be of equal status. Families Need Fathers is firstly a social care organisation, helping parents whose children's relationship with them is under threat. We offer information, advice and support services for parents on how to do the best for their children. We are the only organisation that provides these services on a national basis.


Child Contact Centres

NACCC is the supporting membership body for around 325 child contact centres and services located throughout England (including the Channel Isles), Wales and Northern Ireland. It is the largest in Europe. Child contact centres and services are neutral places where children of separated families can enjoy contact with their non-resident parents and sometimes other family members, in a comfortable and safe environment. Over four thousand volunteers and staff work in these centres and over seventeen thousand children use them each year. They are run by a variety of independent organisations that form the membership of NACCC, along with affiliated members such as family lawyers, CAFCASS, CAFCSS CYMRU and the judiciary.



ChildLine is a counselling service for children and young people.


It's Not Your Fault

Practical advice for children, young people and parents who are going through the process of separation.


Help and advice about children

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in was founded in 1889. The NSPCC is inspired by a belief that we can make a difference for all children – by standing up for their rights, by listening to them, by helping them when they need us and by making them safe. Our vision is ending cruelty to children in the UK. We believe cruelty is preventable and that through having an inspirational vision we will achieve much greater success for children.


CLS Direct

Community Legal Advice is a free and confidential advice service paid for by legal aid.


Community legal services and public funding (legal aid)

The Legal Aid Agency providex civil and criminal legal aid and advice in England and Wales


Citizens advice bureau

The Citizens Advice service helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free information and advice, and by influencing policy makers.


Family Rights Group

Family Rights Group is the charity in England and Wales that advises families whose children are involved with or need children’s services because of welfare needs or concerns.

Click here for further information