Counsel generally represent children in three circumstances: 1. When appointed by LRCY [Legal Representation for Children and Youth] to represent children whose families are in conflict with Child and Family Services; 2. In private family matters when appointed by the Court or hired by the parents on consent of both parties.
a) In some instances children’s counsel act on the instructions of their minor client,if those instructions are clear and reasonable in the circumstances ie. When children are not asking to be placed in an environments that will put them at risk and if those instructions represent the child’s wishes and are independent of undue influence.
b) In some instances counsel are appointed as “Amicus Curaie” or “best interests” counsel where they act as a friend of the Court and provide information to the Court that will help the Court in making its decision.
c) Due to the complexity of getting evidence before the court children’s counsel will often have to hire a children’s therapist to provide a report to the Court.
3. The Court will sometimes appoint children’s counsel to do a “Legal Voice of the Child Report”. In some circumstances a court will prefer this to a Voice of the Child Report done by a children’s therapist.
We have senior counsel extensively trained to represent children and their best interests including:
Interviewing children using interactive tools to assist in determine a child’s wishes and views
Determining the best interests of children by interviewing the relevant parties and professionals in a child’s life such as parents, teachers, counsellors, doctor’s, specialists and other supports as necessary
Drafting reports such as “Legal Voice of the Child Reports” or “amicus or best interests reports”
Appearing in court proceedings, including trials, to represent the children and their interests.
In Family Law matters a child’s counsel is retained through a private retainer. The Court must Order or the parties mast agree that the children should have counsel. We understand that retaining a lawyer for your children is a difficult process, especially if it is in the context of a high conflict family matter. Our lawyers are here to help. Contact our office today to discuss retaining counsel for your children.