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Representing children's views and best interests in court : an international comparison.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2005
<mark>Journal</mark>Child Abuse Review
Issue number4
Volume14
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)220-239
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper provides a comparison of a number of alternative models of international practice in relation to the appointment and organization of guardians ad litem and other children's representatives in child care and family proceedings. The paper notes that, in their attempts to address the need for children to have representation in matters affecting their welfare, English-speaking countries have tended to conflate the two salient Articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that is, Article 3, which deals with the child's best interests, and Article 12, which deals with their right to express their wishes and feelings. Where systems other than stand alone legal representation have been put in place, the child's representative is charged with both assessing their best interests and, often as a secondary duty, communicating their views. The paper concludes that for some groups of children in public or private law proceedings, an advocate (rather than a best interest oriented guardian, and where necessary in addition to a legal representative) may enable better representation of the child in the courts and greater participation by children in legal proceedings, an increased role for children as citizens and a fuller implementation of their rights.