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What does the Lawyer for my Child do?

Updated: Apr 28

In New Zealand, a lawyer for child plays a crucial role in representing the interests and views of a child during family court proceedings. This role is defined and regulated under the Care of Children Act 2004. Here are the key aspects of the role of a lawyer for child in New Zealand:

1. Independent Representation: 

The lawyer for the child is appointed by the court to independently represent the child's interests in family law cases, particularly those involving day to day care, contact arrangements, and guardianship.


2. Child-Centric Focus: 

The primary duty of the lawyer for the child is to ensure that the child's views are shared with the Court. The Court is required to keep the child’s interests at the forefront of its decisions and this includes taking into consideration the child's views, age, and level of maturity.


3. Gathering and Presenting Information: 

The lawyer for the child is responsible for gathering relevant information about the child's circumstances, wishes, and concerns. This may involve interviewing the child and consulting with other relevant parties, such as parents, caregivers, or professionals.


Our Tip: While your lawyer has a duty of confidentiality to you, the lawyer for your child does not. This means they are not required to keep confidential information you may share with them and may pass what you say to them on to the Court.


4. Legal Representation: 

The lawyer for the child has the right to present evidence, call witnesses, and make submissions to the court on behalf of the child. This ensures that the child's perspective is heard and considered in the decision-making process.


5. Advocacy for Stability and Well-being: 

The lawyer for the child advocates for the child’s views but will be concerned to ensure the stability and the overall well-being of the child is paramount in decisions made about the child. This may involve addressing issues related to living arrangements, education, health, and any other factors that impact the child's life.



6. Communication with the Child: 

Establishing effective communication with the child is a key aspect of the lawyer's role. They must create an environment where the child feels comfortable expressing their views and concerns. This may mean they interview the child at their offices, the child’s school or another environment where the child will feel able to freely express themselves.


7. Reporting to the Court:

The lawyer for the child is required to report the child's views and wishes to the court. This report may influence the court's decisions regarding the decisions the court is being asked to make about the child’s care arrangements, education, health or other welfare issue.


8. Appointment by the Court: 

The court may appoint a lawyer for the child on its own initiative or in response to an application by one of the parties involved in the case.

The role of the lawyer for the child in New Zealand emphasises the importance of giving children a voice in legal proceedings that directly affect their lives. By ensuring independent representation, the legal system aims to make decisions that prioritise the well-being and best interests of the child.


If you'd like to have us assist you in resolving your family law issue, then call Lighthouse Legal on 0800NAVIGATE or book a free, initial chat here.

Names and any identifying information have been altered to protect the privacy of individuals. The information in this blog is current at 1 April 2024. The information in this blog is general, educative information only. As such, it should not be relied on in place of getting your own legal advice.



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