An interesting article discussing the local practice guidance from the Central Family Court, which reverses the expectation that a court appointed Children's Guardian will attend for court hearings unless excused. It examines whether such guidance should have been issued, how this impacts on the Guardian's role and the overall productiveness at any court hearing.
Interestingly it identifies that this was created without discussion with solicitors and Children's Guardians - arguably those who it will impact upon most.
Recent local practice guidance applying in the Central Family Court provides that children's guardians in public law proceedings, adoption proceedings, or private law proceedings under FPR 2010, r16.4 – in effect, children's guardians who are legally represented – are only required to attend court to (i) give evidence, or (ii) hear parents or subject children give evidence. If the attendance of a children's guardian is thought to be necessary at other times, an order must be sought at an already listed earlier hearing, or by email to the judge before the hearing; and reasons must be given. This guidance is described as having been produced in consultation with Cafcass management, the judges at the Central Family Court (CFC), and the Family Division Liaison Judge. Practitioners (principally lawyers and children's guardians) have not been consulted.