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Director Ranjit Uppal visits Ghana for Pro Bono lectures on Child Care Law

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December 12, 2019 | By Ranjit Uppal |

December 12, 2019 | By Ranjit Uppal |

Last week I visited Ghana as part of an ongoing project for SFAC UK (Strengthening Families for Abandoned Children). Their stated mission is “Keeping children safe, giving them the chance to thrive”. They do this by linking UK legal professionals with those who can benefit from our help around the globe. 

I was accompanied on the trip by Dan Hope (Head of Training and Social Work for SFAC) and Ruth Sharon (a non-practicing Child Care solicitor). Together, we brought our expertise in child care and the UK legal system to help legal and child care professionals in Ghana to plan for the future.

What did the trip involve?

Our hosts were an organisation called GWO (Ghana Without Orphans) and the audience ranged from high court judges on day 1, right through to legal professionals and social care workers. We lectured across two days to give our hosts a thorough framework for how to develop fair, effective legal Child Care Law practices in their country. This started by exploring the role of the courts in child care, later covering specifics such as carrying out assessments and determining child care options.

As part of the trip we also got to meet a wide range of people and even visited a local radio station (Sunny FM Ghana) and the British High Commission in the capital, Accra. All in all, it was a very busy trip with next to no leisure time, but a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. As a lawyer with a lot of in-depth knowledge that I’ve acquired with the help of others over the years, it’s great to be able to pass some knowledge on to others. It’s always an eye opener to meet so many new people and see another country along the way too.

Why are British lawyers needed for projects like this one in Ghana?

It’s easy to underestimate the reputation of our legal system here in the UK. It can be something that we take for granted but there are still many countries around the world whose legal professionals look to us for guidance on how to make their legal frameworks even more effective at protecting vulnerable children. These nations hold the UK legal system in very high regard.

This is one of several pro bono projects I’ve been involved with in recent years having also visited Paraguay and Uganda, so the people of Ghana are far from alone. On this trip – as with the others I’ve been on in recent years – I’ve been overwhelmed by the warm welcome and the enthusiasm to learn and develop, shown by our hosts.

How have our hosts benefited from the visit?

I’d like to think that in years to come, Ghana will have moved towards a stronger more effective legal framework for child care, by learning from what works for us here in the UK. I’d be delighted if our visit can play even a small part in such an important development.

As always, I have found this pro bono project really humbling and rewarding and I am looking forward to my next project.

If you need help or advice on any aspect of Child Care Law, you can contact us through the website or call us on 0800 138 0458.

Ranjit Uppal

Ranjit is a Solicitor Advocate within our Child Care Law team and a Director of Switalskis. He has Higher Rights of Audience enabling him to represent clients in the UK's most senior courts. In his role as a Director, Ranjit also oversees the firm's Marketing activity. Ranjit's profile

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