Changes to care proceedings, introduced in April 2008, included new guidance to local authorities on working with parents before proceedings are issued, and new rights to legal aid for parents to obtain legal advice and assistance at this stage. This research project was designed to find out how local authorities in England and Wales were using the new pre-proceedings process, how parents experienced it, and whether it was effective at keeping cases out of court or shortening the time it took to complete care proceedings. The research directors, Professor Judith Masson from the School of Law and Dr Jonathan Dickens from the School of Social Work at UEA are working with central and local government, the judiciary and the legal profession to develop policy and practice messages from the research. Funding was provided by the ESRC. The report on the research, Partnership by Law? and a research summary will be published in March 2013.