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(Court of Appeal; Thorpe and Wall LJJ and Holman J; 31 March 2009)
Contact proceedings concerning the child had been going on for 10 years, since the child was 4 years old. The father was currently having no contact with the child. Because of the father's dissatisfaction with the help he was getting from the Cafcass officer appointed as guardian, the court invited the National Youth Advocacy Service to intervene in the proceedings, for the purpose of preparing a report as to what assistance could be offered to re-establish face-to-face contact, and to consider whether NYAS could replace the Cafcass officer as guardian. The response from NYAS was that it was unable to undertake the work involved unless formally appointed under Family Proceedings Rules, r 9.5. The judge rejected the father's application for the appointment of NYAS to replace the guardian.
The father's appeal was dismissed. Given the long period during which the existing guardian had been involved in the case, and the potential effect on the child of replacement, the judge had been entitled to refuse to replace the guardian.
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