Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about the law and you can’t find the answer you are looking for please email childrenslegalcentre@swansea.ac.uk.

Who should I ask if I have questions about the law?

You can find our general information about the law from lots of places, including the internet. If you have a specific question about how the law affects you, or about something that has happened to you or that you have done, you should try and talk to a lawyer with experience in the type of law that will apply – e.g. if something has happened to you at school, you should choose a lawyer experienced in education law. There are also charities that can help and advise you on legal matters, and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau may be able to help.

Can I say who I want to live with if my parents are splitting up?
It can be a sad and worrying time if your parents are splitting up and you may be anxious about where you will live and who you will live with. You won’t be asked to choose who you want to live with, but if your parents can’t agree on who you will live with, an organisation called CAFCASS Cymru may get involved. You will be able to talk to someone from CAFCASS Cymru and tell them what you think about where you should live. The person from CAFCASS Cymru will write a report for the court which will include your views and opinions. The judge who makes the decision about who you will live with will take this into account and will have to make the decision in your best interests. Find at more here.
What will happen to me if I break the law?
If you have done something that breaks the law, and you are 10 years old or older, you could be arrested and taken to the police station to be asked questions about what has happened. The police may decide not to do anything more, or they may take further action. What this could be depends on what you have done. If you are arrested by the police, you will have the opportunity to talk to a solicitor who will be able to help you understand what could happen to you in your situation. You can find out more here.
Can I challenge a decision by my school to exclude me?
If you go to a ‘maintained’ (‘state’) school, the school has to have a discipline committee to review decisions by the head teacher to exclude a pupil. Depending on how long you’ve been excluded for, the discipline committee can overturn the exclusion. If you aren’t happy with the decision of the discipline committee, you may be able to appeal to the Independent Appeal Panel. The decision letter from the discipline committee should include the details you need to make an appeal. Find out more about the law and school here.
Does my mum or dad have to go to the doctor with me?
You can see a doctor on your own however old you are, but if you are under 16, the doctor might want to ask you some more questions to be sure that you are OK. The doctor has to keep information you tell him or her confidential. If you need to have any treatment, including medicines or some other treatment, and you are under 16, the doctor may decide that she needs to talk to your parent or carer to ask for their agreement to the treatment. The doctor won’t do this if she thinks you understand the treatment that is being suggested. Find out more about health and wellbeing here.
What can I do to stop someone who is making me do things I don’t want to do?
Sometimes, we get into relationships that aren’t healthy. If someone is making you, or trying to make you, do things that you don’t feel comfortable with, either because they are trying to make you break the law, or because you are being hurt, the law is there to protect you. If you feel able to talk to someone about what is happening, this may be all you need to get support to leave the relationship. If you need more help and support, then depending on what has been happening, the police can help. There are also lots of organisations you can talk to anonymously and confidentially, like Meic Cymru or Childline if you’re not ready to speak openly, or to someone you know, about what is happening. To find more about relationships and the law, click here.
Can I get a job while I am still at school?
Depending on how old you are, you can get a job while you are still at school, although there are rules that limit how much paid work you can do. Find out more about work here.
Can someone stop me joining a club because I don’t speak Welsh?
Welsh is an official language in Wales and some clubs and activities in Wales will be run in Welsh. You should be able to join in even if you don’t speak Welsh, but you can’t expect the activity to be run in English, or even bilingually. Find out more about the law and how it affects you in your free time here.
Why aren’t I allowed to buy some things until I am 18?
Although you can buy most things whatever age you are, some things are ‘age restricted’, so you can’t buy them until you reach a certain age. You can’t buy alcohol, cigarettes or fireworks until you are 18 in Wales. This is for your own health and safety and for the safety of other people. Find out more about your rights as a consumer, and what you can and can’t buy here.
Is there a law that stops me being on social media before I’m old enough?
There’s no law to stop you having a social media account, but each social media platform – Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc – has its own set of terms and conditions and most of them include a lower age limit to have an account. If you are too young to have an account and the platform finds out, it may close down your account. Find out more about the law and being online here.
If I’m in a gang can I get into trouble for something someone else in the gang has done?
The police and the courts can take action against you if you are in a gang and another member of the gang breaks the law. It’s called ‘joint enterprise’ and it means you can get into trouble with the police even if you didn’t do anything to break the law yourself. Find out more about law and gangs, and about being out in the street here.