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Minister says litigation guardians have been appointed

Tinee Furbert, the Minister of Social Development and Seniors (File photograph)

A number of litigation guardians who represent children in court have now been appointed following months of training.

Tinee Furburt, the Minister for Social Development, made the announcement in the House of Assembly yesterday morning.

She did not say how many guardians had been appointed, but did say that they will be gazetted this month. More than 65 applicants underwent training to become guardians in February.

Ms Furbert said: “This will increase the capacity in the service at a time when courts are rightly making more appointments of litigation guardians because of the increased complexity of the issues facing our children and young people in Bermuda.

“One guardian is being given enhanced service co-ordination responsibilities. This will enable the court to have a point of contact within the service when an appointment is needed and will enable the new litigation guardians to be mentored at the outset of their appointment.

“This is seen as an important aspect to the programme. Undoubtedly, the new appointees are all highly experienced, however, being a litigation guardian is a specialist role and having a co-ordinator who has had a lengthy experience of operating in the role will add value to this initiative.”

Ms Furbert said that earlier this month guardians, along with social workers from the Department of Child and Family Services were trained in how to write court reports “which bring out the voice of the child as the centrepiece of the report”.

She added: “The Ministry of Social Development and Seniors has now convened and held two meetings of the litigation guardian steering committee.

“The committee is providing oversight and direction to the development of the service. This involves scrutinising, amending and ratifying practice guidance for the litigation guardian service, endorsing a new fit for purpose contract for the litigation guardians and considering which changes to the wider family justice system are needed for the Guardian Service to be able work to the highest possible standards.”

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Published July 02, 2022 at 7:35 am (Updated July 02, 2022 at 7:35 am)

Minister says litigation guardians have been appointed

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