What is an ICL?
An Independent Children Lawyer (ICL) is an experienced solicitor who is appointed by the court to represent a child. Generally, their role is to assist the court in reaching a decision in the best interests of the child. However, they are not appointed in every case.
Case law sets out what the role of the ICL is and what criteria applies for that appointment.
Overall, the ICL should act as an ‘honest broker’ between the parties. The criteria for appointment broadly involves cases, where:
- there are allegations of child abuse.
- there is intractable conflict between the parties.
- the child is alienated from one or both parents.
- there are real issues of cultural and religious difference affecting the child.
- the sexual preferences of either or both of the parents are likely to impinge on the child’s welfare.
- the conduct of either or both of the parents is alleged to be anti-social to the extent that it seriously impinges on the child’s welfare.
- there are issues of significant, medical, psychiatric, or psychological illness in relation to either party.
- neither parent seems a suitable custodian.
- a child of mature years is expressing strong views, the result of which would be to change a long standing custodial arrangement or deny contact.
- a child is to be permanently removed from the jurisdiction.
- it is proposed that siblings be separated, or
- neither of the parties are legally represented.
The actual appointment of a solicitor as an ICL is co-ordinated by and funded by the Legal Aid Office (Qld). As a result, Legal Aid request parties contribute to the ICL costs.
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