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The muffled voice of the child: part three

There is a real opportunity for the old proverb ‘Children should be seen and not heard’ to become a thing of the past, say Carla Ditz and Helen Greenfield

7 April 2015

In the last update (SJ 159/9), we looked at how the law supports children’s desire
to be heard when they are the subject of court proceedings. But how does this actually happen in practice?

Existing regime

There are a number of different means by which children are given a voice:

  • Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass): An officer is closely involved in most cases and ‘advises the courts on what [they] consider to be in the best interests of individual children’. They commit to ‘using their influence positively as the voice of the child and the eyes and ears of family courts’;
  • Guardian ad litem: A guardian ad litem r...

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