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Guardians are being lost form the profession, says family lawyer

Date:7 MAY 2009

Experienced guardians are being lost form the profession because of a growing dissatisfaction with the role after becoming under increased pressure from targets and red tape, a leading Liverpool lawyer claims.

Simon Heaney, a family law expert and court advocate at Liverpool family law firm Heaney Watson says, "Legal guardians are leaving in droves. We are losing all the good ones because the processes are leaving those who want to work for the benefit of the child disenchanted. I know of at least four good guardians that have gone in Liverpool in the past six months.

A children's guardian is an independent person appointed by a family court to represent the rights and interests of a child in court proceedings.

Simon Heaney, who is currently waiting for a guardian to be allocated to a case says an increasing emphasis on targets is not helping the situation.

"Guardians are having to cut corners rather than really working with children and finding out what they need in the long term. Guardians who want a case to run over 40 weeks are under pressure to get things off their desk and are buried under forms. The focus is not on the best outcomes for children".