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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 152280 Find in a Library
Title: Independent Counsel for Children
Journal: Family Law Quarterly  Volume:27  Issue:3  Dated:(Fall 1993)  Pages:349-364
Author(s): S L Wilber
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 16
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In arguing for the appointment of separate counsel for children in any proceeding that affects their custody, placement, or treatment, this article focuses on the extent to which the attorney should be directed by the client's wishes.
Abstract: Increasing numbers of decisions about the treatment, placement, and custody of children are being committed to the courts. Protection of the interests of the involved children must be the paramount concern in such proceedings. Because their interests are unique, children need vigorous, independent representation by an attorney. Whether the child is mature or very young, articulate or incompetent, the attorney should function as the child's spokesperson. Attorneys should not accept appointments in which they are expected to advance their own idea of the child's best interests. Such an approach skews the adversarial process and compromises the attorney's ability to serve the client. Only when the child is unable to articulate a reasoned preference should the attorney substitute a judgment for that of the client. The attorney should then advocate the position which she/he determines the client would take if the client were able to direct the litigation. 43 footnotes
Main Term(s): Juvenile due process
Index Term(s): Child custody; Child placement services; Family courts; Right to counsel; Rights of minors
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