Mcphee Lawyers

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28 June 2017

How did the children get their own lawyer?

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The Court will appoint an Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) if the children’s interest require separate representation. This will be appropriate where:

  1. The conflict between the parties has the potential to harm the children;
  2. The children or the parents have a significant medical, psychological or psychiatric illness;
  3. Neither parent is able to provide adequate care for the children;
  4. Where there have been allegations of physical, psychological or sexual abuse;
  5. Where older children express a strong view in relation to not spending time with one parent or a strong preference to live with one parent or the other;
  6. Where the children are alienated from one of the parents; or
  7. Where one parent proposes to relocate with the children to a place that would make it more difficult for the other parent to spend time with the children.

How does the ICL perform their role?

The ICL is in a different position to the lawyers representing the parents. They are not bound to act on instructions from a client and are required to form their own views about what is in the children’s best interests.

In performing this role an ICL will:

  1. Arrange for the collection of expert evidence and otherwise ensure that all evidence relevant to the best interests of the children is brought before the Court;
  2. Inform the Court of the children’s wishes;
  3. Act in an unfettered way in the best interests of the children;
  4. Test the evidence of the parties and their witnesses by cross-examination where appropriate; and
  5. Facilitate an agreed resolution to the proceedings if possible.

If an ICL has been appointed in your matter it will be because the facts and circumstances are complex or because the Court is concerned that the children may be at risk.

If you wish to discuss the implications of an ICL being appointed in your matter please contact our office to make an appointment with one of our solicitors today.

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