Child representatives in the Children's Court
How is a child representative appointed?
The magistrate decides whether a child should have their own lawyer. However, as a parent, you can ask for the magistrate to appoint a lawyer. The magistrate will consider your request. The Department of Communities, Child Protection can also ask for your child to have a lawyer appointed.
Do I have to pay for a lawyer for my child?
No, in protection and care Children’s Court cases you do not have to pay for your child’s lawyer.
What must the lawyer tell the court?
If the lawyer is acting in your child's best interests, the lawyer must tell the court:
- all the key information about your child's background and current situation, and
- what they think is in your child’s best interests
to help the court decide what will be best for your child.
If acting on instructions, the lawyer must tell the court your child’s instructions just as a lawyer for an adult would do.
What if my children want different things?
If your children want different things the same lawyer may not be able to represent them, especially if they are acting on instructions.
If this happens the lawyer will let the court know. The court may have to arrange for a new lawyer for one or all your children.
What can I do if a child representative is appointed?
You can help your child by not asking them about what they said to the child representative.
If your child is living with you:
- make sure they attend all appointments arranged by the child representative, and
- allow your child to freely contact the child representative and talk in private.
- Keep em Safe Fact sheet : What do lawyers do in child protection cases?
- Guidelines for Child Representatives – for information on what the court expects of child representatives. The Children’s Court of WA has approved these guidelines.
Reviewed: 9 November 2023