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Child Care, Adoption & Kinship Care

Ridley & Hall’s Child Care solicitors are experts in child care law, known both locally and nationally. We handle cases involving parental and children’s rights, as well as local authority responsibilities. We understand that many parents don’t get the support they should, despite their capabilities being questioned.

We are strong advocates for the rights of parents, children, grandparents, family members, and adoptive parents. Nowadays, grandparents, relatives, and friends are increasingly taking on vital roles in children’s lives, especially when a child is taken away from their parents by local authorities. It’s crucial to make sure these kinship carers’ voices are heard.

Our kinship care solicitors specialise in representing them in care proceedings, working to place the child with the right family or friends. We’ve helped families across the country, regardless of distance. Our main goal is to get the right results for carers, making sure both the child and the carers get the support they need.

Additionally, if you’re facing adoption challenges, our adoption lawyers are here to offer practical advice.

Our Areas of Expertise

Our People

Sarah Brown

Sarah joined Ridley & Hall in 2010 following the completion of her Law Degree. Whilst working at Ridley & Hall she studied the Legal Practice Course part time over two years, completing it in 2012....

Nigel Priestley

Senior Partner, MBE
Nigel Priestley is a Senior Partner of Ridley & Hall Solicitors and a community care and adoption specialist solicitor. He is a member of the Children’s Panel and regularly represents children and parents in care proceedings. ...
James Cook

James Cook

Head of Child Care & Public Law Team
James Cook trained and qualified at a South Yorkshire firm where he specialised in family and immigration law. ...

Helen Moody

Helen joined Ridley & Hall in 2012 after completion of the Legal Practice Course,  initially as a Legal Assistant working alongside Nigel Priestley to build up experience in the Public Law department. Helen completed her training contract at Ridley & Hall and qualified as a solicitor in 2016. Helen has had major successes in claiming allowances and back dated payments for kinship carers from Local Authorities across the country. Helen was made an Associate Solicitor in January 2023....

Deborah Hardy

Deborah has over 25 years’ experience in family law and has particular expertise in representing children, court appointed guardians, parents and extended family members in care proceedings in Leeds and surrounding areas. She joined Ridley & Hall as a Partner in 2018....
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Clare Linden

Clare joined Ridley & Hall Solicitors as a Partner in 2018. Clare graduated from Durham University and completed her legal training at the College of Law in York in 2006. Clare qualified as a solicitor in 2008 when she re-located to Leeds to join the niche family law firm McAras and was made a partner in 2013 following the firm’s merger with Simpson Millar solicitors in Leeds....
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Zoe Butt

Team Leader of the Care Team
Zoe Butt joined the firm in March 2023 as a Partner. Zoe has a wealth of experience in children matters and works in our Care and Public Law teams. Zoe’s particular expertise is in complex care proceedings involving Child Sexual and Criminal Exploitation, and cases involving alleged Non-Accidental Injury. She also has a wealth of experience in dealing with cases involving Forced Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation and Honour Based Violence....
Laura Milburn

Laura Milburn

Laura has many years of legal experience and was called to the Bar in 2010.  After qualifying as a Barrister, Laura cross-qualified to become a Solicitor in 2012.   Laura is a passionate advocate and has used her advocacy and negotiation skills on behalf of many clients over the years. ...
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Jennifer Keefe

Jennifer has experience in all areas of family law, however she is particularly passionate about representing parents, extended family members and children involved in care proceedings, or helping families that are facing child protection issues....
Kim Noble

Kim Noble

Kim qualified as a Solicitor-Advocate in 2019 after obtaining her Higher Rights of Audience (Civil) as a Trainee Solicitor based in the Care Department at a Local Authority. Kim has obtained a Law Degree, Legal Practice Course and a Master of Laws prior to qualifying as a Solicitor-Advocate....
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Alisha Mazher

Alisha is a qualified family law solicitor with ample experience and knowledge in domestic abuse cases, private child arrangements and kinship....
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Rosie Nicholson

Associate Solicitor
Rosie primarily assists clients on a variety of issues in relation to kinship care, particularly claiming allowances and back dated payments for kinship carers from Local Authority’s. Rosie also assists clients with Special Guardianship Order applications and advice in relation to the support that is available under Special Guardianship Orders....
Tracy Steel

Tracy Steel

Tracy joined Ridley & Hall as a trainee solicitor in June 2022 and is due to qualify as a solicitor in September 2022....

Nicki Butterworth

Associate Personal Assistant
Nicki is an experienced Personal Assistant who works within the Care & Public Law Team (for Child Care Director, James Cook). Nicki’s career began in the retail sector, and it was there where she began to hone her renowned communication and customer service skills....
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Marie Stanley

Legal Secretary
Marie joined Ridley & Hall to work in our Wills & Probate team. After securing a Cilex qualification opportunity offered by Ridley & Hall in 2023, she now works in the Care Team....
Sophie Aldridge

Sophie Aldridge

Trainee Solicitor
Sophie achieved a First-Class degree in Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice in 2020, for which she also achieved the Criminology Award for the highest overall grade on the course. Following this, Sophie achieved a distinction on the Graduate Diploma in Law, was awarded the prize for the highest overall grade on the course, together with the prize for the highest grade in Property Law. Sophie is now studying the Legal Practice Course before training to become a solicitor....
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Anthony Sykes

Anthony joined Ridley & Hall Solicitors in November 2023 as a Care & Public Law paralegal. He closely collaborates with the department's lawyers, assisting with a broad spectrum of matters at all stages of care proceedings....