Powers vested in the Family Law Act provide that in certain circumstances a Court can appoint a lawyer to represent a child’s interests.
An Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) is typically appointed in matters whereby some of the following factors exist;
- Allegations of abuse or neglect in relation to the child
- There is a high level of conflict between the parties
- There are allegations made as to the view of the children
- There are allegations of family violence
- Serious mental health issues exist in relation to one or both of the parents or children
- There are other difficult and complex issues involved in the matter
You might be thinking what does an ICL practically do?
The main roles include;
- Ensuring the necessary evidence, including expert evidence, is obtained and provided to the court
- Facilitating the participation of the child in the proceedings in a manner which reflects the age and maturity of the child
- Acting as an honest broker between the child and the parties with the intention to mitigate risk and facilitate settlement to occur
The ICL can request a family report, question witnesses, examine medical documents, speak with the children’s counsellors and school teachers, request urinalysis and hair follicle testing be undertaken by the parties upon random request.
The ICL will usually present orders to the Court that they submit are in the best interests of the child. Our principal Michael Tiyce undertakes ICL work for the Legal Aid panel and also accepts private ICL appointments by consent of the parties.
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