Focus on Social Work Law

by Alison Brammer

Court and Legal Skills

By Penny Cooper

Whether it is a child and parent facing permanent separation, or a patient needing lifesaving treatment, a Social Worker’s evidence can be absolutely crucial to the outcomes in court.

This book provides social workers with the knowledge and skills they need to present court evidence to the highest possible standard. It provides an overview of how court hearings work and goes on to focus specifically on the different court and legal skills required of social workers. With chapters on record-keeping, producing written evidence, giving children and vulnerable adults a voice and dealing with the outcomes of court hearings, it will act as a how-to guide for newly qualified social workers, and for experienced practitioners looking to boost their confidence in court.

The text is supported by a range of innovative features and boxed information to aid learning and stimulate reflection:
  • Key Case Analysis boxes summarize the details of particular legal cases and outline the implications for social work practice
  • Practice Focus boxes apply legal principles and processes to practice through the use of social work scenarios
  • On-The-Spot Questions reinforce understanding and encourage critical reflection

Download the resources which accompany this textbook

Professor Penny Cooper has produced an admirably concise and accessible guide to the legal issues facing social workers appearing in court. It will do much to demystify the court process and is full of sound, practical advice for social workers preparing for a hearing. It will be especially helpful to social workers new to family court proceedings. I heartily commend a book which might also benefit not a few lawyers. – Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, High Court of England and Wales

Table of contents

  1. Social Workers in the English Legal System
  2. Record-Keeping and Handling Personal Information
  3. Producing Written Evidence
  4. Being a Witness
  5. Working with Other Professionals in the Legal System
  6. Giving Children and Vulnerable Adults a Voice in the Legal System
  7. Dealing with Outcomes: The Results and the Aftermath of Hearings

About the author

​Penny Cooper, Barrister, is a Professor of Law at Kingston University London. She chairs The Advocate’s Gateway ( – an internationally renowned website which she co-founded in 2012 to provide best practice guidance on the evidence of children and vulnerable adults. Penny is also a witness familiarisation specialist and former governor of The Expert Witness Institute.