What is an Independent Children’s Lawyer and what is their role?

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What is an Independent Children’s Lawyer and what is their role?

In parenting proceedings, the Family Courts may appoint an Independent Children’s Lawyer (or ‘ICL’) to advocate the views expressed by your children and concerns relating to your children’s care, welfare and development and to propose Orders that are in the best interests of your children.

Independent Children’s Lawyers are appointed by the Court and are funded by Legal Aid NSW. The role of the Independent Children’s Lawyers is to:

  • To act in the best interests of your children and present an objective case to the Court;
  • Read all Affidavits and Subpoena material file;
  • Depending on the age of your children, to meet with your children to discuss their wishes and any other views they might express about their parents’ separation and care arrangements;
  • Talk to the appointed Family Consultant and any other relevant people such as treating medical practitioners, teachers or counsellors.

 

It is important to remember that like each parent to a family law matter, the Independent Children’s Lawyer is another party to the proceedings and the Court is not bound by any recommendation made or proposed Orders that they seek. However, the Courts are guided by submissions made by the Independent Children’s Lawyers and the evidence they raise in circumstances there is a high level of parental conflict or significant risk of unacceptable harm to children.

If an Independent Children’s Lawyer is appointed in your family law matter, it is important that you facilitate any appointments that are arranged by the Independent Children’s Lawyer to meet with your children. You should remember that the Independent Children’s Lawyer is limited in what they are able to discuss with you even in circumstances where you are not legally represented. If you have any concerns or any other matter that you wish to raise with the Independent Children’s Lawyer, you should direct these queries through your own family lawyer.