By Gianna Huesch
A new online resource for and about Independent Children’s Lawyers (ICLs) has just been launched by Legal Aid NSW on behalf of National Legal Aid.
ICLs are lawyers appointed to represent children in family law matters under Australia’s Family Law Act 1975. They are involved in the most difficult family law cases by Order of either the Family Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Family Court of Western Australia. When courts make orders for ICLs, they also require the Legal Aid Commission in the particular state or territory to make an appointment of an ICL to the case. Our principal solicitor Cristina Huesch here at Alliance Family Law is qualified to be appointed as an ICL, and welcomes the creation of the new online resource.
“Having completed the ICL training in the past allows me to better represent parents, as I know how ICL’s operate and what they are trained to look for. I can prepare my clients so they know what to expect when they are asked to make their children available for interviews with ICLs, and I can also negotiate better with ICL’s at court.”
The new site aims to be an extra support resource for ICLs as well as to help the general public better understand the roles and duties of the ICL. With 550 Australian ICLs representing children in around 4,800 family law matters annually, the website is anticipated to provide much needed additional support and access to training for the country’s ICLs.
On the site, ICLs will find legislation, guidelines and significant cases, up-to-date science resources, and be able to access training resources and a mentoring program.
For the public, there are resources such as brochures for parents and children (for example, “What happens when your parents go to court?”), and there is a series of age-specific interactive animations for kids explaining the role of the ICL.
Kylie Beckhouse, director of family law at Legal Aid NSW is quoted in Lawyers Weekly as saying:
“They are arguably the most important lawyers in the family law system because their role is to represent vulnerable children and remind all parties that the child’s best interests should be at the centre of proceedings.”
You can check out the new site here: www.icl.gov.au.
Please note that Alliance Family Law is happy to take on some Legal Aid matters. Once your Legal Aid grant application has been approved you can take advantage of an obligation-free first conference with Family Law Solicitor Angela Li. You can contact Angela on (02) 6223 2400 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.