Independent Children's Lawyers - the last hope - or from hope to hopeless ?

In a sea of dispute and contested facts, particularly on risk of harm, I am firmly of the view that the appointment of an Independent Children's lawyer is the last bastion between anarchy and calm.

However, invariably, waring parents will either love or hate the ICL as on their side; not on their side; or not involved enough.

The view parents get about the ICL, in my experience is from a lack of understanding of the ICL. While I have seen ICL's who range from great to hopeless, mostly the lack of appreciation for the precise role of the ICL is the root cause of criticism of them.

The following resource is a very useful one (use the link) in understanding the role of the

https://icl.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/ICL-factsheet-for-parents-generic-version-for-website-002.pdf

The Independent Childrens Lawyer is an experienced practitioner "outside" the conflict. They can act as an honest broker between the waring parties with a child focus. They will have a view based on the material before them and on the basis of many years of experience, however, they do not decide the matter - the judge will. Their role is to put before the Court all of the information necessary for the Court to be empowered (with evidence) to decide the matter. This will be outside of the "he said / he did - She said / She did " evidence of the parents in the proceedings. For example, the ICL will issue subpeanas for evidence to be brought to court from the Police, doctors, schools and any other source which will help the court to shed light as to the truth of the allegations and counter allegations in court.

So, on balance parties should spend time to understand the very important and effective role of a competent ICL in the proceedings - particularly where there is high conflict.

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