Keywords: Family law – children’s lawyers – children’s voices – communication – qualitative research
The appointment of a lawyer to represent a child’s interests in a private family law dispute is often held up as a way for children’s voices to be ‘heard’. In Australia, these lawyers do not always meet with the children whose interests they represent. When they do, their approach to the meeting is influenced by their views about the purpose of meeting. Thus a lack of clarity about that purpose contributes to a high tolerance for individualised practices around meeting with children. While the individual discretion of lawyers is important, this can lead to lawyers making decisions about meeting based on factors other than what is best for the individual child concerned. This article has been accepted for publication in Child and Family Law Quarterly in Issue 1, Vol 28, Year 2016. The final published version of this article will be published and made publicly available here 24 months after its publication date, under a CC-BY-NC licence.