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Assessing competence and representing children on direct instructions

Date:10 SEP 2023
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Mitali Zakaria, Partner & Head of Family and Children Department, ITN Solicitors


The issue of child competence has in recent years proven to be somewhat of a minefield for practitioners in both public and private law proceedings. In 2022 the Family Justice Council published guidance on assessing competence seeking to provide some consistency of approach.

Those representing children in particular need to be familiar with the core principles adopted by courts, statute and formal guidance.  The overarching focus should always be ensuring the voice of the child remain at the forefront of proceedings.

This article considers the approach to be taken in assessing children’s competence to instruct a solicitor and representing children directly in Family Proceedings and considers the following:

  • Family Procedure Rules 2010
  • Notable cases
  • Family Justice Council Guidance dated April 2022
  • Acting on Direct Instructions. 

The full article will be published in the September issue of Family Law



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Read the full article here.