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The ears of the child in family proceedings

Date:24 SEP 2007

Sir Nicholas Wilson. In this year's Hershman/Levy memorial lecture delivered to the Association of Lawyers for Children on 28 June 2007 Sir Nicholas Wilson asked first how can children express views including most importantly their wishes for the future save upon a platform of some understanding of the nature of the proceedings? The need for them to an extent appropriate to their age to understand the proceedings surrounding them goes far wider than a need to provide them with a platform for the effective expression of their views. Those who work in the family justice system need to be more imaginative about the nature and depth of the perplexities frustrations worries and fears of children who are the subject of family proceedings.

What do the children know about the proceedings? About the way in which they develop? About their time-scale? About the nature of the issues? Or about the range of possible results? Children's understanding of legal proceedings if any may well be derived largely from criminal trials on television or from information probably...

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