6 May 2021

Legal Aid NSW seeks Guardian ad Litem panel members to protect vulnerable children

Legal Aid NSW seeks Guardian ad Litem panel members to protect vulnerable children

Are you interested in helping to safeguarding the interests of vulnerable children? Looking to expand your skillset?

Fams was In conversation with Monique Hitter, Deputy CEO Legal Aid NSW, in April. We heard Legal Aid NSW is assisting in house staff and our partners with relevant qualifications in social, health, behavioural sciences or related disciplines to become members of the Guardian ad Litem panel due to an urgent shortage of Guardians.

Why is this important?

A recent decision in the Supreme Court has resulted in the appointment of guardians for children under the age of 12 in many matters. Currently there are hundreds of children whose matters are waiting for the appointment of a guardian. This means that vulnerable children are unable to have their matters progress as there are insufficient guardians to assist them.

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

In the Children’s Court of NSW a Guardian ad Litem is appointed by the Court when either a child or a parent does not have capacity to instruct a legal representative. A Guardian stands in the shoes of the person who does not have capacity and instructs a legal representative. A Guardian ad Litem’s responsibilities are to:

  • Promote the autonomy of the client;
  • Safeguard and represent the interests of a client;
  • Take into account the views, opinions, wishes and feelings as expressed by the client;
  • Instruct the legal representative of the client.

Guardians in the Children’s Court instruct Independent Legal Representatives who have been appointed by the Court. The legal representatives’ role is to act on your instructions and also to advise the Guardian about the law and what is in the best interests of the child.

Where can I find out more?

You can read more about the role on the Department of Communities and Justice website.

What are the remuneration arrangements?

Guardians appointed to the panel are able to invoice the Department of Communities and Justice in accordance with its fee scale.

How do I express an interest?

Legal Aid NSW is currently assisting interested partners to become part of the panel.

If you are interested in applying to become a Guardian ad Litem or finding out more please email: [email protected]

Want to learn about Care & Protection?

You can watch a webinar about care and protection here: