Independent children’s lawyers and child representatives
Specially trained Legal Aid WA lawyers represent children and young people as independent children’s lawyers in family law proceedings and as child representatives in child protection proceedings.
If a matter is beyond the scope of our duty lawyer service, our lawyers can provide ongoing representation under a grant of aid for some Family Court proceedings, child protection proceedings in the Children’s Court and in relation to defended hearings for family violence restraining orders.
We have a duty lawyer service at the Family Court of WA in Perth, called Family Court Services. The service helps people with immediate family law needs, who need urgent advice or who have a court date that day and are not able to access a lawyer in time. The focus of Family Court Services is on parenting arrangements and child contact, including advice on recovery orders. It may help with property settlement issues where families are experiencing family violence.
Family Court Services also provides FASS (Family Advocacy and Support Service). FASS provides:
- legal and social support services for families who are experiencing family violence, and
- advice, and in some cases court representation, to help families manage their legal matters in family court, protection and care and family violence restraining order proceedings.
Quick Answers Video: Family Advocacy and Support Service
|Download the fact sheet for this video|
FASS duty lawyer and social support services are provided by Legal Aid WA on Family Court Magistrates Circuits in regional areas including Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Broome, Albany and Bunbury.
We also provide on-the-day duty lawyer services:
- in the Children’s Court of WA for protection and care cases, and
- for Family Violence Restraining Order applications in the Magistrates Court.
Legal Aid WA’s Dispute Resolution Unit co-ordinates and facilitates child focused conferences to assist parents to resolve family law issues, and when referred by the Children’s Court, issues involved in protection and care applications. Family law conferences are held in Perth, Albany, Bunbury or Geraldton. Conferences in child protection proceedings, called signs of safety pre-hearing conferences, are held in Perth and a variety of regional locations. Family law conferences are facilitated by family dispute resolution practitioners or qualified mediators. Signs of safety pre-hearing conferences are facilitated by specially trained court appointed convenors.
Legal Aid WA Client Services division has specialised staff who can provide advice and legal help to both carers of children and those who have to pay child support or child maintenance.
We are not part of the Department of Human Services - Child Support or Department of Human Services - Centrelink.
Client Services staff help both payee parents (parents and other people, for example, grandparents who have children in their care and receive child support payments) and payer parents (parents financially supporting children who may not live with them all the time) by providing advice
We provide ongoing help to clients to run their own case and operate on the self help principle. We do not provide legal representation.
What happens if the other parent is getting help from Legal Aid WA?
This is called a conflict of interest. Appointments for advice and assistance can be made with only one of the parties to the dispute. When an appointment is made and there is a conflict, Legal Aid WA can refer the person to another service or lawyer.
Reviewed: 19 April 2018