When disputes between parents become very difficult, and the court takes the view that the voice of the child or children cannot be properly represented by either of their parents, the court can take the decision to give such children their own representation, usually, through a rule 16.4 Guardian. Sometimes a child is also able to instruct lawyers directly without the need for a Guardian.
Members of Chambers of all seniority are regularly instructed to act on behalf of children through their rule 16.4 Guardians, and directly, in private law proceedings to ensure that children have an independent voice amongst the disagreement between their parents.
We have significant experience in undertaking complex and lengthy fact find hearings and final hearings over a number of days and are adept at cutting to the core of the issues in order to reach the best outcome for the child. We understand the significance of the role of the Guardian when the criteria for appointment under rule 16.4 have been met.
Members of our private law team have considerable experience of working directly with children of varying ages who are competent to give instructions and can accompany them to meet with Judges in order to express their wishes and feelings about what should happen. We appreciate the need to ensure that children have a clear understanding of the Court process and the potential consequences of their instructions. We provide sensitive and attuned advice to children, taking into account their emotional intelligence and maturity.