Pioneering supporting lawyer

The family lawyers who attend the local meetings of Shared Parenting Scotland all provide valuable support to the parents who attend these meetings.

One of the first lawyers who attended our meetings was Billy Finlayson, who started to attend our Glasgow meetings when they were held at O’Neill’s in Glasgow’s Merchant City from 2010 onwards.

We were very sad to hear of Billy’s death at the start of June and wish to acknowledge the considerable support he gave both to this charity and to the many parents he represented.

As well as being a regular legal supporter at our Glasgow meetings, he drew upon his extensive legal experience to help our staff answer difficult enquiries and spoke at our AGM in 2014 alongside John Mason MSP and Nick Smithers from Abused Men In Scotland.

His talk at that event related to his extensive experience of conducting contact cases in court and his concern that the burden of proof was normally put on the father to prove his fitness to see his children. Billy’s passion was for fairness. While family courts have changed to some extent since 2014, Billy’s passion is still shared by this charity. We agree that both parents should remain fully involved with their children after separation and contact should only be severed if it is necessary to protect the child.

His family court expertise also helped us when we used his arguments in winning an appeal in the Court of Session (JM v. PK) regarding a father’s contact with his  young daughter. 

When we noted his death on our WhatApp threads there was a rush of comments from fathers who had been represented or helped by him such as “Billy helped me for many years going out his way. I will be forever grateful for all the kindness and hard work he did to help me and my son.” and “What a loss, he really valued and fought for a Dad’s parenting role. Billy once answered the phone to me and gave me free advice after 6pm on Xmas eve when I was pulling my hair out self representing. RIP.”

Our sympathies and gratitude go to his family.