The Social Care and Education team provides specialist legal advice on all matters relating to children's social care, adults' social care and education. The team is led by the Head of Law for Social Care and Education. The children's social care work is led by two assistant heads of law for Sutton/Merton and AFC/Wandsworth, and 5 senior lawyers, all with many years of expertise in this area. The adults' social care and education work is led by two assistant heads of law, both specialists in their area, and two senior lawyers.  

Childcare team

Our team deals with all aspects of child protection work in relation to local authority statutory duties. We provide advice and assistance on a wide range of matters including care proceedings, public law outline (PLO), freestanding placement and adoption advice and applications, section 7 and section 37 requests, judicial reviews and other complex matters.

Child protection is an extremely fast-paced environment, which can be challenging, yet very rewarding. It gives our team the satisfaction of knowing that they are contributing to achieving better outcomes for vulnerable children and young people. 

Our team are committed to ensuring the best outcome for our clients and work effortlessly to achieve this.

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Education team

Our education team provides specialist legal advice to all our client departments that relate to a number of educational matters. This includes advice on SEN matters and representing boroughs within tribunals, advice on admissions and exclusions, school attendance advice, transport, school organisation, and funding and legal advice for education committee reports. We also deal with judicial reviews challenging education decisions.  

Our team has an excellent relationship with our client departments and we are committed to achieve the best outcome for them.

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Adults team

The team is responsible for matters relating to the council's social services obligations to adults within the five boroughs of SLLP. This includes advice in relation to health and mental capacity legal framework.

We represent the five boroughs in the county courts, Court of Protection and judicial review proceedings in the High Court.

Our team works collaboratively with our clients to ensure a seamless service is provided

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Team members

The team also has 5 in-house advocates who represent clients in child protection cases.

Lucy Craig - Assistant Head of Law, Social Care and Education

Lucy started her career in law working for the Crown Prosecution Service as a caseworker and then moved to Local Government to complete her legal training at London Borough of Harrow.  She qualified as a solicitor in 2002 and initially specialized in children's social care and education law.  Lucy moved to London Borough of Merton in 2003 as Assistant Lawyer undertaking children and adult social care law and then later as Senior Lawyer mainly specializing in children's social care law. Lucy became Assistant Head of Law in 2017 and she leads the children’s social care service for Merton and Sutton

Neeta Sharma - Head of Law, Social Care and Education

Neeta qualified as solicitor in 1993. She started her career in Local Government as a trainee solicitor at Cambridgeshire County Council. After qualifying Neeta has worked at several local authorities in London Boroughs and County Councils, where she specialized in children's social care. Neeta was the Principal Lawyer at Kingston Council from 2006-2013 leading the Social Care & Education team before joining SLLP. She became Assistant Head of Social Care & Education in January 2020 and leads the children's social care team for AFC (providing children services for boroughs of Kingston and  Richmond) and Wandsworth Council.