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Family Courts

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2006

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans she has to encourage the use of solicitor advocates in children's and family courts. (95404)

[holding answer 19 October 2006]: In the family courts, children involved in public law proceedings (care/supervision) are almost always represented by a CAFCASS guardian and a solicitor. In private law proceedings (contact/residence) the children involved are not represented by a solicitor/guardian unless Rule 9.5 of the Family Proceedings Rules 1991 is applied, which makes the child party to proceedings. In all other family proceedings there is an option of legal aid to be granted to the parties involved to be represented.

We are currently consulting on the need for solicitors to attend all section 8 Children Act 1989 hearings in cases where there is separate representation under Rule 9.5 and the closing date is 8 December 2006.