The role of the Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) is not always well understood by children or their parents. The nature of the ‘best interests’ role can be especially confusing because it differs from parents’ own experiences with legal professionals and from images of ICLs children may have seen on television. This discrepancy between expectations and experience may result in a disappointing or negative experience for children engaged in legal matters. It can also mean that children may not share information that could help determine what would be in their ‘best interests.’This Best Practice Guide aims to help ICLs improve children’s experience with the legal service. It emerged out of a project undertaken by Legal Aid NSW in conjunction with the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University and researcher sat the University of Sydney, University of Wollongong and Charles Sturt University. The project focused upon improving children’s understandings and experiences of family law processes. It collated the best available research evidence into a literature review (Bell,2015) and undertook a survey of 54 children and young people accessing the services of Legal Aid NSW (Anderson, 2016). The insights gained from this literature review and survey have informed the development of this Good Practice Guide.The suggestions outlined in this Good Practice Guide are not intended to be all-encompassing but rather to provide a stimulus for ICLs and others to reflect on a) the ways they currently engage with children; and b) how this may impact on children’s understanding and experience of family law processes.
|Place of Publication||NSW, Australia|
|Publisher||Legal Aid NSW|
|Commissioning body||Legal Aid NSW|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|