- Room 11, 20 Portland Villas, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 8AA
Mr Phil Bates
Associate Professor in Law
School of Law, Criminology and Government (Faculty of Business)
Associate Professor of Law
LLB (Sheffield), MA in Socio-Legal Studies (Sheffield). Attorney (New York Bar).
Family and Child Law. Medical and Mental Health Law. Criminal Law, Constitutional Law and Human Rights. Tort.
Child protection and law, including research on children's representation in care proceedings, use of expert evidence, representation of vulnerable parents, the role of the Official Solicitor.
Grants & contracts
Getting it right in time: parents who lack litigation capacity in public law proceedings Exploring the issue of support for parents who lack litigation capacity in child care proceedings.
Researchers: Penelope Welbourne (Associate Professor of Social Work) and Philip Bates (Associate Professor of Law) at Plymouth University.
This research, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, will be the first to explore the issue of support for parents who lack litigation capacity in child care proceedings. These proceedings have recently become much faster than before, now expected to finish in 26 weeks, about half the average length of time they took two years ago. Parents who lack litigation capacity have a high level of vulnerability in their own right, in addition to being the parents of very vulnerable children. Having robust processes to support them is important a human rights issue for parents and children: the Public Sector Equality Duty and the European Convention on Human Rights apply to them, among with other statutory rights to support. A key element in the protection of their rights is the role of the Office of the Official Solicitor, since such parents cannot, once defined as lacking litigation capacity, be expected to conduct their own legal matters. This research will follow the care proceedings process through from the point of identification of lack of litigation capacity and referral to the Official Solicitor, through the care proceedings process and, where relevant, proceedings about placement for adoption of the children concerned.