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Children's representatives in the care and protection jurisdiction

Legal Aid NSW provides specialist representation for children in the care and protection jurisdiction in the Children’s, District and Supreme Courts as well as in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘NCAT’).

In the care and protection jurisdiction, children’s representatives are appointed to represent children as a matter of course.

Children will be represented by either an Independent Legal Representative (‘ILR’) or a Direct Legal Representative (‘DLR’) depending upon their age and their capacity to give proper instructions to their legal representative.

The main functions of children’s representatives include:

  • Interviewing children and young people;
  • Ensuring the views of children or young people are placed before the Court or evidence is available as to their wishes;
  • Ensuring that all relevant evidence is adduced, and, where necessary, tested;
  • Explaining their role to children and young people;
  • Presenting direct evidence to the Court of matters relevant to a child’s safety, welfare and wellbeing;
  • Cross examining parties and witnesses.

Legal Aid NSW is responsible for allocating child representatives in care and protection matters for all children and young people who are the subject of care proceedings across NSW.

Legal Aid NSW currently has a large number of in house solicitors who are highly skilled and experienced in representing children and many of them have completed specialist training. Legal Aid NSW also maintains a panel of private practitioners who Legal Aid NSW are satisfied are highly skilled and experienced in representing children and/or have completed specialist training.

All Legal Aid NSW child representatives are committed to ensuring that children have a meaningful voice in proceedings and their rights and best interests are protected.