The increasing demands on the role of children's lawyers in family law proceedings in Australia

Publisher:
Jordan Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Child and Family Law Quarterly, 2019, 2019 (2), pp. 143 - 163
Issue Date:
2019-06-24
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In Australia, lawyers are appointed by courts to represent a child’s best interests in private family law disputes. They are generally appointed in cases at the more complex end of the family law spectrum. As the complexity of matters in the family court system has increased, the caseload of children’s lawyers is also becoming more complex and their role has expanded This paper examines the ramifications for a family law system that has become more reliant on children’s lawyers despite research highlighting concerns about the capacity and quality of some children’s lawyers. This article draws on the author’s small‐scale qualitative study of the perceptions of children’s lawyers particularly in relation to cases involving family violence and self‐represented litigants to explore the strains placed on their role. I suggest that judges will continue to increasingly rely on children’s lawyers who are being placed more in the role of “Counsel Assisting the court” as opposed to acting as the child’s representative.
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