The Role of an Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) in Parenting Proceedings

The Court may make an Order that your children be independently represented in proceedings for parenting orders in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

The role of the Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) is one of independence; providing evidence to the Court, relevant to the children, to assist the Court to make a decision which is in the best interests of the children.

An Independent Children’s Lawyer may meet and talk with the children and to other people who may have relevant information. The Independent Children’s Lawyer may file Affidavits of any witnesses who they intend to call to give evidence in Court in relation to parenting issues.

The Independent Children’s Lawyer may request that you, your children and the other party attend upon a Social Worker or Psychologist for the preparation of a family report. The Independent Children’s Lawyer will then provide a copy of this report to the Court to assist with the determination of the matter.

The Independent Children’s Lawyer may require information from you as to whether or not you have a partner and your current living arrangements, as your partner (if any) may need to attend interviews.

Independent Children’s Lawyers take part in the Court hearing by calling witnesses and cross-examining the parties and witnesses called by each party.

It is important that you do not discuss matters before the Court with your children. Should it be necessary, it is the role of the Independent Children’s Lawyer to discuss the Court process and Orders made with the children.

If you have a solicitor acting for you the Independent Children’s Lawyer will communicate directly with your solicitor as it is not ethical for the Independent Children’s Lawyer to speak directly with you unless your solicitor is present. If you do not have a solicitor representing you, you should remember to serve all Court documents on the Independent Children’s Lawyer and copy the other party into any correspondence with the Independent Children’s Lawyer.

How do I find out more information?

Visit the National Legal Aid webpage to learn more about the role of an Independent Children’s Lawyer in Family Law Proceedings: ICL.gov.au

Download an information factsheet: ICL-factsheet-for-parents

Contact us to arrange an appointment with an experienced solicitor or accredited family law specialist.

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Judy Stewart

Judy Stewart

Accredited Family Law Specialist