Litigation Guardian Council on the way
A Litigation Guardian Council will be set up by the Bermuda Government.
The body will provide regulatory oversight of the recruitment, management and administration of litigation guardians on the island, according to social development minister Michael Weeks.
It comes after a Supreme Court ruling that magistrates must consider appointing legal representatives to protect the rights of children who appear in court, if money is available.
In June, Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman ruled that the Children’s Act required the Family Court to consider the appointment of a counsel or “litigation guardian” for children.
Mr Weeks responded today that policy development around litigation guardians has been “under way for some time” in his ministry.
He said the Progressive Labour Party had pledged to enhance the protocol for litigation guardians in the Throne Speech last September.
Mr Weeks said his ministry had consulted with the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in Britain, which provides oversight of litigation guardians.
He said: “As a result, the Ministry of Social Development and Sports has formulated a policy framework which Cabinet has now approved, and for which drafting instructions have been issued to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
“The policy framework calls for the establishment of a statutory Litigation Guardian Council to provide regulatory oversight of the recruitment, management and administration of litigation guardians in Bermuda.”
Mr Weeks said a litigation guardian from Cafcass was recently appointed by the Family Court in Bermuda on an unpaid basis to provide an objective review of the circumstances related to a family matter in the best interest of the child concerned.
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