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The Family Proceedings Rules (Northern Ireland) 1996

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Appointment of guardian ad litem

4.11.—(1) As soon as practicable after the commencement of specified proceedings, or the transfer of such proceedings to the court, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem, unless—

(a)such an appointment has already been made by the court which made the transfer and is subsisting, or

(b)the court considers that such an appointment is not necessary to safeguard the interests of the child.

(2) At any stage in specified proceedings a party may apply, without notice to the other parties unless the court directs otherwise, for the appointment of a guardian ad litem.

(3) The court shall grant an application under paragraph (2) unless it considers such an appointment not to be necessary to safeguard the interests of the child, in which case it shall give its reasons; and a note of such reasons shall be taken.

(4) At any stage in specified proceedings the court may, of its own motion, appoint a guardian ad litem.

(5) The proper officer or chief clerk shall, as soon as practicable, notify the parties and any welfare officer of an appointment under this rule or, as the case may be, of a decision not to make such an appointment.

(6) Upon the appointment of a guardian ad litem the proper officer or chief clerk shall, as soon as practicable, notify him of the appointment and serve on him copies of the application and of documents filed under rule 4.18(1).

(7) A guardian ad litem appointed from a panel established by regulations made under Article 60(7) shall not—

(a)be a member, officer or servant of a Board or Trust which, or an authorised person (within the meaning of Article 49(2)) who, is a party to the proceedings;

(b)be, or have been, a member, officer or servant of a Board or Trust or voluntary organisation (within the meaning of Article 74(1)) who has been directly concerned in that capacity in arrangements relating to the care, accommodation or welfare of the child during the 5 years prior to the commencement of the proceedings;

(c)be a serving probation officer (except that a probation officer who has not in that capacity been previously concerned with the child or his family and who is employed part-time may, when not engaged in his duties as a probation officer, act as a guardian ad litem).

(8) When appointing a guardian ad litem the court may give consideration to appointing anyone who has previously acted as guardian ad litem of the same child.

(9) The appointment of a guardian ad litem under this rule shall continue for such time as is specified in the appointment or until terminated by the court.

(10) When terminating an appointment in accordance with paragraph (9), the court shall give its reasons in writing for doing so.

(11) Where the court appoints a guardian ad litem in accordance with this rule or refuses to make such an appointment or terminates an appointment the court shall record the appointment refusal or termination in Form C41.

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