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2. Family law matters

2.4. Independent children's lawyer and child representatives

2.4.1 Applying this Guideline

This Guideline applies to independent children's lawyers in matters under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and to child representatives in matters under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW).

The role of the independent children's lawyer is set out in s68LA of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

See also: The Family Court Guidelines for Child Representatives; The Law Society of New South Wales Representation Principles for Children's Lawyers.


2.4.2 Special medical procedures –independent children's lawyer

Legal Aid NSW should grant legal aid for the separate representation of a child in any court proceedings relating to special medical procedures.


2.4.3 Costs in relation to independent children's lawyers

If Legal Aid NSW makes a grant of legal aid for an independent children's lawyer, Legal Aid NSW must give consideration as to the ability of the parties to the proceedings to:

  • contribute to the costs associated with a single expert report
  • contribute to the costs and disbursements associated with the grant of legal aid for the independent children's lawyer.

Legal Aid NSW may determine an amount to be paid by each party taking into account

  • the party's capacity to pay
  • the party's legally aided status
  • contributions assessed on existing files.

Taking into account that the parties are equally liable to pay a single expert witness's reasonable fees and expenses incurred in preparing a report (Family Law Rules, R15.47), where a party is not legally aided, they will be required to contribute to an equal portion of the cost of the single expert, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

This guideline does not apply to proceedings relating to special medical procedures involving a child in which a grant of aid for independent representation of the child has been made, regardless of whether or not any of the parties to the proceedings are receiving legal aid.

Costs orders

If a party refuses or fails to pay the amount required by Legal Aid NSW under this guideline, legal aid for the independent children's lawyer should continue to be provided on the condition that the independent children's lawyer seeks an order for costs against that party at an appropriate time in the court proceedings.


2.4.4 When there is no utility in continuing to act as ICL

If legal aid is granted, the independent children's lawyer or child representative must advise Legal Aid NSW if the utility of the order for the independent children's lawyer or child representative has expired.

Aid will be withdrawn if Legal Aid NSW is no longer satisfied that the independent children's lawyer or child representative will make a difference to the outcome of the proceedings or to the welfare of the child.

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Date Last Published: 30/01/2017
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