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In this edition of ‘It depends’, lawyer Tiana Harris talks about Independent Children’s Lawyers (ICLs) and when they are required for parenting proceedings.

Video transcript

Hi, I’m Tiana, and welcome to this edition of It Depends. Today, I’m going to be talking to you about ICLs or Independent Children’s Lawyers and whether they are required for your parenting proceedings. The answer, of course, is it depends.

What is an ICL?

An ICL is a court appointed, legally aided lawyer who independently represents the children’s interests in court proceedings.

Who may apply for an order to appoint an ICL?

The child or an organisation concerned with the welfare of the child or any other person may apply for an order to appoint an ICL. The court may also appoint an ICL on its own initiative.

What is the role of an ICL?

The role of an ICL is to act in the child’s best interests, form an independent view of what is in the child’s best interests, and make submissions to the court to act in a particular way in the child’s best interests. The ICL can also arrange for the appropriate evidence to be put before the court. In addition, the ICL can ensure that the child, depending on their age and maturity, participates in the proceedings.

When is the ICL appointed?

Usually, an ICL is appointed when there are allegations of abuse or neglect in relation to the child, where there are allegations of family violence, where there’s quite a lot of conflict between the parents or serious mental health issues exist in relation to one or both of the parents or the child, to name a few.

Do I have to pay for an ICL?

Although an ICL is funded by Legal Aid, it is not a free service per se and the court may order that one or both the parties contribute to the ICL’s costs.