Barriers to empowering children in private family law proceedings
In family law disputes over parenting in Australia, an independent lawyer may be appointed to represent the interests of the child or children. Based on interviews with lawyers working in this capacity, this article examines their concerns about meeting with children and the barriers preventing children's empowerment in such proceedings. It finds that particular conceptions of children and childhood influence not only lawyers' views about appropriate participation, but how children's views are interpreted by lawyers. Nevertheless, the empowerment project is a complex one, and there are very real hurdles for lawyers seeking to empower the children whose interests they represent.