It is always a pleasure to attend an ALC Conference. The ALC is, for me, a gathering of professional friends and colleagues, and to walk into this room feels very much like ‘coming home’. I recall addressing what was, I believe, the 2nd ALC Conference in September 1991 at Keele University less than a month before the implementation of the Children Act 1989. My topic was, astonishingly, the new court rules but, because the rules had only been made the week before, it was a lecture, despite its arid subject matter, which seemed to hold the audience’s rapt attention. You will, however, be pleased to know that today, some 27 years later, I will not be majoring on the Rules.