About SCLC

Our free legal advice service is provided via telephone and email, on all aspects of Scots law relating to children and young people, including education; additional support needs; health; confidentiality; social work; residence; contact; children’s rights; youth offending; and access to records. Unlike other advice services, all our calls and emails are answered by fully qualified solicitors and our advice is impartial, confidential and child centred. 

The Centre provides training on all aspects of the child law in Scotland as it affects children and young people, workshops to youth groups and schools, speaking engagements, responds to changes in legislation and organises conferences, masterclasses and seminars. The Centre also produces up-to-date publications on a range of issues relating to children and young people.

The Centre also has a consultative and advisory function for local and central government and, through this, constantly seeks to improve the content and practice of child law.

The team

Denise Chalmers, Administrator


Denise has over 35 years’ experience working both in the private and public sector.  She enjoys hillwalking and caravanning with her family and her Miniature Schnauzers called Daisy and Bailey.

Amerdeep Dhami, Solicitor

I am a solicitor having been practicing for 9 years. I primarily have experience in Family Law, having worked in private practice. I graduated from The University of Edinburgh in 2009. I trained in Edinburgh in a large public sector organisation before embarking on a career in private practice. I am also trained as a collaborative lawyer. I also sit on the Family law and Child Committee and the Equality and Diversity Committee at the Law Society of Scotland. I am passionate about people being able to access legal services, whatever their circumstances may be. I am also a mum to a beautiful 3 year old who keeps me on my toes and also keeps me grounded.


Sadia Arshad, Solicitor

Sadia joined the Centre in August 2021. She studied law at the University of Dundee before qualifying as a solicitor in 2007. Prior to joining the Centre, she worked in private practice where she provided advice and representation on a broad range of family and child law matters. She has also built a good bank of experience in immigration law and as a solicitor at the Civil Legal Assistance Office, providing advice and representation on housing, homelessness, employment, and social welfare law. As a Parent Council Representative, she has a particular interest in furthering the rights of children and young people and promoting their views in educational law matters.

Board of trustees

Ewan MacDonald-Russell 

Ewan is Head of Policy & External Affairs for the Scottish Retail Consortium. That involves leading on food and drink issues for the SRC in Scotland, coordinating media engagement, and regularly meeting with Ministers and key stakeholders. He is a member of the Scottish Government’s Regulatory Review Group, and was a member of the Scottish Government’s Expert Panel on the Collaborative Economy.

He previously was Public Affairs Advisor for Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc, and before that worked for the Scottish Youth Parliament, Scottish Parliament & Business Exchange, having started his career as a feature writer at the Courier Newspaper in Dundee.

Ewan studied History at the University of St Andrews and attended Loretto School. Away from work he plays the pipes and occasionally plays golf.

Jennifer Law (Treasurer)

Jenny is a Finance Manager at the Church of Scotland.  After graduating from University of St Andrews in 2005 with an honours degree in Pure Mathematics, Jenny worked as an Accounts Assistant for year before progressing on to her CA training.  Qualifying as a CA in 2009, Jenny then spent the next 12 years’ focussing on  audit and accounting within the charitable and not-for-profit sectors, developing her expertise in respect to technical compliance with charity accounting regulations.  In 2021 Jenny left professional practice to join the finance team at one of Scotland’s largest charities.


Katy Macfarlane

Katy Macfarlane started her career as a secondary school teacher of Economics and Accounting for seven years.  She then graduated in Law from the University of Edinburgh, after which she headed up the Scottish Child Law Centre from 1999 until 2007.  Katy is a Lecturer in Child and Family Law at Edinburgh Law School where she teaches courses in Child and Family Law and Mental Health Law on the LL.B degree and Comparative Child Law LL.M. Katy is a qualified Solicitor, Safeguarder in the children’s hearings system, child welfare reporter and curator ad litem in family actions in Edinburgh Sheriff Court.  She is also a trained and experienced mediator.  Katy is co-editor of Family Law Bulletin (W Green) and co-author of the Annotations for the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 (W Green).

Stewart Maclachlan (Interim Chair)

Stewart is Senior Legal and Policy Officer for the Migrant Children’s Project, part of Coram Children’s Legal Centre, which promotes and advocates for the rights of refugee and migrant children in the UK. He leads on the project’s training and legal guidance, as well as contributing to the policy work of the project. He is co-author of ‘Seeking Support’ (5th edition), a guide to working with unaccompanied and separated children and young people, and ‘Securing Permanent Status’, a guide on routes to regularisation for undocumented children.Stewart is a practising Scottish solicitor, with a LLB (with honours) and Diploma in Legal Practice  from the University of Edinburgh. He qualified in 2010 after training at a commercial firm in Edinburgh and was previously accredited as a Level 2 Supervisor under the Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Scheme in England from 2014-2017. He has worked at Paragon Law, a niche immigration law practice in Nottingham, and worked for over 4 years in law centres in Scotland. He worked for the Young Persons’ Project at Legal Services Agency (LSA) in Glasgow, providing legal representation and advice to refugee and migrant children and young people, as well as training professionals on the laws affecting those children and contributing to policy work. He also previously worked at the Scottish Child Law Centre in Edinburgh, providing advice on child law, represented parents and children at the Additional Support Needs Tribunal, delivering training and contributing to policy work. 

Sarah Drummond

Sarah qualified as a lawyer in 2010 and initially practised as an employment lawyer for a large commercial law firm, specialising in a variety of employment related disputes, advisory work and training. Since 2015, Sarah has worked in-house for a Royal Chartered professional regulatory body and in this role deals with a variety of legal issues from contractual work, dispute resolution to governance matters. Sarah is also a non-executive director on the Board of the Pensions Management Institute.

Maria Joanna Galli 

Maria is a dual-qualified solicitor in Scotland and Australia; most recently having completed post-graduate studies at the University of Strathclyde (LLM-Masters in Law (Mediation and Conflict Resolution).

Since admission as a solicitor and Notary Public in 1990, Maria has worked in criminal and civil litigation, in both Scotland and Sydney, and has been employed in various private and public law roles: including as a Children’s Reporter, Safeguarder, curator ad litem; Sheriff Court Reporting Officer ( Bar Reporter) and most recently as an Education Officer with lead responsibility for child protection and safeguarding for the Education Quality Improvement and Inclusion team, within a local authority.

Accredited as a Law Society of Scotland Specialist in Child Law in 1995, Maria has pursued her career specialising in all areas of child law, policy and practice, from children’s referrals; adoption and permanence; parental rights and responsibilities; education law (including Additional Support for Learning); youth justice; corporate parenting and human rights.

Working within the 3rd sector on a pro bono basis, Maria hasTogether (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)been accredited a  Religious Education Teacher and as a Debating Adjudicator within Australian schools. Maria continues to volunteer as a Director and Company Secretary with a charitable organisation, Ayrshire Cancer Support, a cause very close to her heart. In 2015, Maria joined the Board of Trustees for TOGETHER (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) as an observer and now as Trustee and Vice-Chair. 

In October 2018, Maria was delighted to join the team of the office of the
Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland as Legal Officer, offering legal advice and support to the Commissioner in upholding and defending the human rights of children and young people in Scotland.

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 and has helped develop and present training materials for the SCLC. 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.

Joel Meekison

Joel is a Human Rights Activist, an Ambassador for the Year of Young People 2018 in Scotland, and the #iwill campaign (a youth social action campaign).

Since 2017, he has advised and worked alongside Scottish Government, UNICEF, Together SACR since the initial planning stages of the incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  As an ambassador for the Year of Young People in 2018 he regularly met with Government Ministers and officials to discuss implementing youth engagement mechanisms.  He has travelled all over Scotland and internationally to advocate for young people’s rights.  Including hosting a seminar at Scotland House, Brussels based on sharing Scotland’s best practice to a European context.  This year published; “A young person’s guide to defending human rights” with Suki Wan in the International Journal of Human Rights.

 In addition to his activism he studies Public Relations and Communications at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Alan Inglis

Alan is both an Advocate and a Barrister.  He began his career as a social worker specialising in child protection and mental health.  He was Called to the Bar in England and Wales in 1989 and has specialised in children’s law since then.  He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 2009.  He is the only Counsel practicing in children’s law throughout GB.  He is based in Edinburgh whilst maintaining a place in one of the premier family law Chambers in London.

Rachael MacDonald

Rachael is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a Specialist in Family Law and is a Senior Associate in the Family Law Team at Harper Macleod, Edinburgh. She has experience in all aspects of family and child law and appears regularly in the Sheriff Court. Rachael is Treasurer and a Committee member of the Family Law Association, a member of Consensus Collaboration Scotland and a tutor on the Undergraduate Family Law LLB Course at the University of Edinburgh. She also sits on Netball Scotland’s Wellbeing and Protection Panel.  Rachael was a volunteer solicitor at the Centre for three years until 2018 when she joined the Board.

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