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ALC and NAGALRO respond to guidance on the need for guardians to justify court attendance at care hearings

Due weight must be given to the guardian’s views on the need for attendance

The Association of Lawyers for Children and National Association of Guardians ad Litem and Reporting Officers have responded to recent guidance given in the Central Family Court on the need for guardians to justify their attendance at care hearings save in specified circumstances.

Recent local practice guidance applying in the Central Family Court provides that children's guardians in public law proceedings, adoption proceedings, or private law proceedings in which a children's guardian has been appointed under the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR), r16.4 – in effect, children's guardians who are legally represented – are only required to attend court to (i) give evidence, or (ii) hear parents or subject children give evidence.  If the attendance of a children's guardian is thought to be necessary at other times, an order must be sought at an already listed earlier hearing, or by email to the judge before the hearing; and reasons must be given.

In an article, published in Family Law Week, the ALC and NAGALRO argue that the interests of justice, the effective representation of children, and the efficient management of proceedings, are best served by ensuring that decisions about attendance at hearings are made case by case, with due weight given to the children's guardian's own views on his or her presence at court.

For the article, please click here.