Independent Children’s Lawyers18 February 2022 in Family and Divorce Law
Independent Children’s Lawyers
In family law proceedings, a court may decide to appoint an independent children’s lawyer to represent a child’s interests. Independent children’s lawyers formulate an independent view of what is in the best interests of the child and act on behalf of those interests in court proceedings. The independent children’s lawyer must suggest a particular course of action to the court if they believe that it is in the best interests of the child. The lawyer does not represent the child directly and is under no obligation to follow the instructions of the child. They have various responsibilities including;
- To act impartially in dealing with the parties to the proceedings.
- To ensure that any views expressed by the child in relation to proceedings are fully presented to the court.
- To ensure that the most important aspects of reports and documents relating to the child are brought to the attention of the court.
- To endeavour to minimise the trauma to the child associated with the proceedings.
- To facilitate an agreed resolution of matters at issue in the proceedings to the extent to which doing so is in the best interests of the child.
In summation, independent children’s lawyers provide an effective function to ensure that the best interests of the children are represented in family law court proceedings. An exhaustive outline of the law relating to independent children’s lawyers can be found in sections 68L and 68LA of the Family Law Act.
Applications for Independent Children’s Lawyers
The court may decide to appoint an independent children’s lawyer to represent a child’s interests in family law proceedings. Alternatively, the child, an organisation concerned with the welfare of children, or any other person can make an application to the court to have an independent children’s lawyer appointed. (see section 68L (4) (b) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)). The divorce and family lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight can assist you with this application.
Disclosure of Information
The communication between independent children’s lawyers and the child who’s interest they are representing are subject to unique disclosure rules. The lawyer does not need to disclose information that the child communicates to them to the court unless they consider the disclosure to be in the best interests of the child.
The highly experienced family lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight are happy to advise and assist on all family and parenting matters. We recognise that separation and divorce can be a very difficult and stressful time. This is especially the case when complex parenting issues are involved. Our lawyers have the experience and compassion to help you.
Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.
We are conveniently located with offices in Sutherland, Parramatta, Wollongong and Sydney CBD.