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Staff,Board and Patrons

Our Staff

Briony Cruden (Solicitor) - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Briony is a qualified solicitor with a focus on family and child law. Briony is the newest member of the Scottish Child Law Centre and provides advice to our service users on a wide range of child law issues including contact and residence, court procedure and Children's Hearings. Briony is driven by the importance of Children's rights and is dedicated to helping children express their views in matters which relate to them.

Irina Beaton (Solicitor) - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Irina is a qualified solicitor in Russian and Scots law. She has a Masters degree in International Law from the University of Aberdeen where she focused her study on issues related to international family and child law, and a Masters degree in Translation Studies from the University of Edinburgh. Irina completed her traineeship at Anderson Strathern LLP, where she focused on issues related to child and family law, private client work, employment law and medical negligence work. She also has experience working with and representing clients with diagnosed mental health problems and their carers though her work at the Brown and Co at Legal Services Agency Ltd.

Evelyn Hay (Office Manager) - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Evelyn is the Office Manager at the Scottish Child Law Centre.  She has over 20 year’s experience of working in the voluntary sector and has a particular interest in supporting work with children and young people.

Jenny Wright (Administrator) - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Jenny has over 15 years experience in various administration settings in the public, voluntary and private sectors. She has a PhD in Botany and is also a Pilates Teacher, Fitness Instructor and Cycling Coach. Jenny shares the values of SCLC and is committed to supporting their work in her role.

Denise Chalmers (Administrator) - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Denise has over 32 years’ experience working both in the private and public sector.  She enjoys hillwalking and caravanning with her family and her Miniature Schnauzer called Daisy.

Our Board

Nick Hobbs (Chair)
Nick Hobbs is Head of Advice and Investigations at the Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland (CYPCS) where his role is to make it easier for children and young people to know how they can raise concerns about times when their rights aren’t respected, and to make sure the Commissioner's office can investigate rights violations when it’s appropriate to do so. Prior to joining CYPCS Nick spent 11 years working as Policy and Public Affairs Manager for the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration.  He has contributed to publications as varied as Holyrood Magazine, the Edinburgh Evening News and Honduras This Week, as well as co-authoring a chapter on the Children’s Hearings System in “Scottish Life and Society: The Law”. Nick graduated from the University of Sheffield with a Law Degree in 2001 before moving to Scotland in 2003. He has an MSc in Human Rights and International Politics from the University of Glasgow and has travelled extensively in Latin America, China and Central Asia. He lectures occasionally on children’s rights and the Hearings system at the University of Edinburgh and at Edinburgh Napier university.

Gillian Donald (Treasurer)
Gillian trained with Scott-Moncrieff and qualified in 1993. Since then she has specialised in the charity sector, and is the firm's specialist charity audit partner. She has extensive practical experience of charity regulation and is responsible for ensuring technical compliance with charity regulation across all service sectors within her firm. She is Treasurer of a number of Scottish charities with income ranging from under £100,000 to over £11 million. She is currently a specialist charity lecturer for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), a member of its Charity Working Party and was a member of the Scottish Charity Law Review Commission.  She is a regular contributor on current accounting topics to charity publications within the UK.

Grace McGill (Vice Chair)
Grace is the Principal of McGill & Co Solicitors, Edinburgh & Glasgow, a firm specialising in Immigration, Refugee & Nationality Law which she opened on her own account in April 2008. Prior to this, she was a Partner in Wilson Terris Solicitors Edinburgh. She has been a practioner in the field of Immigration law since 1995 and has considerable experience in all aspects of work of this nature. She is a member of the Immigration Law Practioners Association and International Bar Association.  She has a keen interest in the development of the law for the protection of immigrant children and indeed ran several significant cases at the Court of Session advocating the Best Interests of the Child which ultimately influenced the change of Government Policy  - Every Child Matters  and  section 55 of the  Borders and Immigration Act 2009. She has recently completed her LLM in International Human Rights law, her dissertation subject being written on Judicial Protection and recognition of Human Rights for Immigrant Children in the UK.

Dr Helen Hammond
Dr Helen Hammond is a Consultant Community Paediatrician with specialist interests in Child Development, Child Protection and the needs of children 'Looked After'. Until recently, she also contributed to the hospital service through the acute on-call rota and she is firmly committed to an integrated model of care. Helen is the designated doctor for child protection for NHS Lothian and put in place the specialist clinical service offering advise and joint paediatric/forensic examination of children who have suffered any form of physical or sexual abuse or neglect. She was recently appointed as Clinical Lead for the Managed Clinical Network for Child Sexual Abuse for South East Scotland.

Helen led the inquiry into the death Kennedy McFarlane in Dumfries and Galloway in 2000 and subsequently was a member of the Inquiry team in to the death of Caleb Ness in Edinburgh in 2003. She completed a 3 year secondment as a part time professional advisor to the Child Protection Reform Programme Action Team of the [then] Scottish Executive.

Helen has served as a Council Member and a member of the Academic Board of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH). She recently completed an extended term on the Standing Committee for Child Protection for the College and is Chair the Child Protection Sub-Committee for the Scottish Committee of the RCPCH. She also represents the RCPCH on the working group developing a diploma in medical and legal aspects of sexual assault with the RCOG and Society of Apothecaries.

Maria J. Galli

Maria is a dual- qualified solicitor, having gained qualifications in law in both Scotland and Australia. Maria currently works as a Child Protection Officer.

Maria has worked in all areas of criminal and civil law, in both Scotland and Australia and has been employed in both private and public law roles. She was appointed as a Safeguarder, curator ad litem and Sheriff Court Reporting Officer and was accredited as a Law Society of Scotland Specialist in Child Law in 1995.

Maria was employed as a Reporter to the Children's Panel, and worked for the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration before relocating in 2006, along with her family, to Sydney, Australia. She worked on an employed and pro bono basis in Sydney as a solicitor, accredited Religious Education Teacher, and accredited Debating Adjudicator.

As a Director and Company Secretary with a local charitable organisation, Ayrshire Cancer Support, Maria has also undertaken a legal advisory role on a voluntary basis since 2014. In 2015 Maria joined the Board of Trustees for Together (Scottish Alliance of Children’s Charities) as an observer.

Previously a volunteer with SCLC, Maria brings first-hand experience and in-depth understanding of the difficulties faced by service-users seeking advice as well as the challenges faced with running a charity.

Maria is passionate about children’s rights and feels privileged to be able to contribute to the work of the SCLC, in assisting children, young people, professionals and families, faced with child law issues.

Our Patrons

Dame Elish Angiolini 
Dame Elish was appointed in 2001 as the first non - political Solicitor General for Scotland on 5 December 2001 – also the first woman, the first Procurator Fiscal and the first solicitor to hold the post. She was installed as Lord Advocate on 12 October 2006.

During her appointment Dame Elish took particular interest in supporting the children who are witnesses in criminal prosecutions, contributing greatly to the improvements in the experience of these most vulnerable witnesses. Her Guidance on the handling of offences allegedly committed by children has helped to ensure that only those cases which are not suited for the Children's Hearing system go through the adult courts.  

She chaired the Department's Strategy Group on Diversity and helped victims from minority communities achieve greater confidence in the prosecution service. Her leadership in the area of domestic violence was recognised by the charity Zero Tolerance when she was given their inaugural "Women in the public Eye" award – one of several awards and distinctions she has received during her time in office. 

The review of the investigation and prosecution of rape and sexual crimes which she instigated was a major undertaking which resulted in profound and successful changes to prosecution practices including the establishment of the specialist National Sexual Crimes Unit, the first of its type in Europe. She also set up the highly successful Health and Safety Division and the National Deaths Inquiry Unit.

Dame Elish has recently taken up an appointment as visiting Professor of Law at Strathclyde University and is now in practice at the Bar with Terra Firma Chambers. She is also chairing a Commission into Women Offenders in Scotland.



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Solictors Wanted!

Are you a solictor who practices in the area of family law, child law, education law, children's hearings or related areas?

If so then please get in touch to let us know who you are and your details. We are building up a database of solicitor's practicing in these areas in Scotland as we are frequently asked for the names of solicitors. Please also tell the Law Society of Scotland as we refer many people to the records department for names of solicitors in their area.