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A protocol has been agreed between CAFCASS and the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) with respect to children made parties in private law proceedings under r 9.5 of the Family Proceedings Rules 1991. The President's Practice Direction of April 2004 makes it clear that the child should only be made a party in a minority of cases featuring issues of significant difficulty. The provision of a guardian when requested by the court is a significant and core task for CAFCASS and CAFCASS has a duty to appoint a guardian and cannot refuse appointment. Guidance has been issued to clarify that where a judge has decided that an appointment under r 9.5 is necessary, that service managers must prioritise the allocation of the case.
The protocol states that CAFCASS should be approached first and will usually provide a guardian. However, NYAS may, for example, be asked by the court to provide a guardian in any matter (likely to be long-standing) where, despite the best efforts of CAFCASS staff, one or more members of the family can no longer work with the organisation. The protocol will be reviewed in 12 months time.
The Red Book is the acknowledged authority on practice and procedure