Clare and Richard Seymour
Attending court can be a harrowing experience for social workers, especially those who are newly qualified. This book is for social workers and social work students interested in developing their courtroom skills in relation to work with children, families and carers.
The book assumes little or no experience and knowledge of court proceedings and provides a thorough but basic introduction to the English legal system. It includes chapters on report writing, court skills, the giving of evidence and surviving cross-examination. It covers the role of the social worker in all court proceedings ranging from family proceedings to criminal proceedings in the youth courts.
Much of the information is, inevitably, basic. However, at the end of each chapter there are helpful website links to help the conscientious reader develop their knowledge and skills even further. I was particularly impressed with the chapter on report writing that highlighted the need for court reports to be focused together with the need to separate fact from opinion. Most chapters contain exercises and are well referenced. I’d recommend it for social work students and newly qualified social workers who want to move into court-based social work.
Review by Alan Jones, family court adviser, Cafcass