Checklist: Eligibility to Act and Duties of Lawyer under the new Family Court Reforms A lawyer is only eligible to act* for a party in a Family Court proceeding if:

  • The proceeding relates to an international child abduction matter under the Hague Convention.
  • The party is the Crown.
  • The application commenced without notice (urgent) proceedings. A lawyer cannot continue to act for the client if a Family Court Judge directs that the proceeding has changed to on notice.
  • The application commenced without notice (urgent) proceedings. A lawyer cannot continue to act for the client if a Family Court Judge directs that the proceeding has changed to on notice.
  • A Family Court Judge directs that:
    • An on notice application is to proceed as is if it were a without notice proceeding.
    • The application is to be heard in conjunction with an application filed under another Act.
    • The application is to proceed to a hearing.
  • The lawyer has been appointed to act for a child under 7 of the Care of Children Act 2004.
  • A Family Court Judge directs that legal representation at a settlement conference is needed and likely to facilitate settlement of the parties in dispute.

*Act means to sign any document for the party, to file any document for the party, to accept service for the party, to represent the party in court, or otherwise attend with the party before a Judge or Registrar. *Lawyers are not restricted in their ability to give legal advice to a party, prepare any document for a party and conduct negotiations for a party. A lawyer providing legal advice to a person about arrangements for the guardianship or care of a child, or both, must ensure that the person is aware of:

  • The need for the child’s welfare and best interests to be the first and paramount consideration when settling arrangements.
  • The mechanisms for assisting resolution of family disputes.
  • The steps for commencing a proceeding under the Care of Children Act 2004 and subsequently pursuing the proceeding through the court process to obtain a resolution
  • The types of directions and orders that the court may make if a proceeding is commenced.

Source: Lexis Nexus


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