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Representing A Child’s Best Interests – What Is An ICL?

Representing a child’s best interests – what is an ICL?

What does ICL stand for?

Independent Children’s Lawyer.

Who are they?

An ICL is a lawyer appointed by the Court to represent your child’s interests in your family law matter.

How are they appointed?

A Court can appoint an ICL on its own initiative, or it can appoint an ICL at the request of one parent or both parents, the child, any organisation concerned with the welfare of a child or any other person.

When will they be appointed?

An ICL can be appointed in a number of circumstances. Those include circumstances such as where:

  • there are serious allegations of sexual, physical or psychological abuse;
  • there are allegations of antisocial conduct by one or both parents of the kind that seriously affects the welfare of the child, this includes allegations of family violence;
  • one or both parents suffer from a significant medical, psychiatric, psychological illness and/or personality disorder.
  • there is a high degree of conflict between the parents
  • there are religious or cultural differences affecting the child;
  • the sexual orientation or preference of one or either parent is likely to impact upon the welfare of the child;
  • there is a relocation proposal which would significantly restrict or exclude the child from spending time with one parent;
  • one or either parent is seeking to separate siblings;
  • the child of mature years expresses a view contrary to an existing care arrangement.

What do they do?

The primary purpose of an ICL is to assist the Court in determining what is in a child’s best interests.

An ICL does not represent the child, but rather their interests.

This means that whilst an ICL must consider the views of a child (where age appropriate) they must provide their own independent view about what arrangements are in the child’s best interests. They must then express this view to the Court.

To do this, the ICL will undertake such tasks as:

  • Meeting with the child;
  • Speaking with or obtain evidence from the child’s school, medical professionals and from such organisations as the Department of Family and Community Services.
  • Obtain information about the parents’ medical history, treating psychologists and/or organisations such as the NSW Police.

An ICL can examine both parents and/or any other witnesses at final hearing.

Can I pick the ICL?

No. Upon the Court making an Order, Legal Aid will appoint the ICL for your matter.

Do I have to pay the legal costs of an ICL?

If you do not qualify for a grant of legal aid, the Court may order one or both parties to contribute towards to the cost of an ICL.

If you would like to know more about ICL’s, we recommend you visit the Best for Kids website.

 

 

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