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THE LAW REFORM COMMISSION OF HONG KONG - page 140 / 360

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Advocacy

5.40The Council recommended that “there is room for a broader advocacy of the child’s interests than simply the representation of the child in court”.628  They suggest that a co-ordinator should organise the appropriate report on the child’s best interests and explain the processes to the child.  This role could be met by existing professionals such as court counsellors or state welfare officers.  This would ensure that appropriate support is given to the different separate representatives and that the “wider needs of the child are met and, where necessary, co-ordinated”.629  The Council also recommended that more appropriate titles would be the Child’s Representative, Child’s Advocate, Official Solicitor, or Counsel for the Child.630

Criteria for appointment of separate representative

5.41The case of Re K631 set out the circumstances in which a separate representative should be appointed as follows:

Where there is an apparently intractable conflict between the parents,

where the child is apparently alienated from one or both parents,

where there are real issues of cultural or religious difference affecting the child,

where the conduct, either of one or both parents or some other person having significant contact with the child is alleged to be anti social to the extent that it seriously impinges on the child’s welfare,

where there are issues of significant medical, psychological, psychiatric illness or personality disorder in relation to either party or a child or other person having significant contact with the child,

in any case where it appears neither parent seems a suitable custodian,

where a child of mature years is expressing strong views which, if given effect to, would change a long standing custodial arrangement or result in a complete denial of access a parent,

where a parent proposes permanently removing a child from the jurisdiction or to such a place within the jurisdiction as to greatly restrict or, for all practical purposes, exclude the other party from the possibilities of access,

where it is proposed to separate siblings,

where none of the parties are legally represented,

628 Ibid at paragraph 5.20.

629 Ibid at 5.21.

630 Ibid at paragraph 5.27.

631 [1994] FLC 92-461 at 80, 773-80, 775, summarised at Attachment B of the report.

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