Prof Rosemary Hunter: Close encounters of a judicial kind: 'hearing' children's 'voices' in family law proceedings

09 NOV 2007

Rosemary Hunter, Professor, Kent Law School. There is a growing consensus about the need to 'hear' children's 'voices' in family law proceedings, but how should children be heard? This article takes issue with recent suggestions that children's voices might best be heard in family law proceedings by means of judicial interviews. Drawing on theoretical and legal literature, case-law and empirical research, it argues that the quest for access to children's 'true' or 'authentic' wishes and feelings is misplaced. Rather, there is a need for careful scrutiny of the conditions of production of children's wishes and feelings and the frameworks of interpretation applied in any context, together with consideration of the purpose of judicial interviews with children, and the reasons why this debate has arisen at the present time. For the full article see Child and Family Law Quarterly, Vol 19, No 3, 2007.

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