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Magistrates' Courts (Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995) Rules (Northern Ireland) 1996

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Appointment of guardian ad litem

11.—(1) As soon as practicable after the commencement of specified proceedings the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem unless 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 otherwise directs, for the appointment of a guardian ad litem.

(3) The court shall grant an application under paragraph (2) unless it is considered that such an appointment is not necessary to safeguard the interests of the child, in which case reasons shall be given; and a note of such reasons shall be taken by the clerk of petty sessions.

(4) At any stage in specified proceedings the court may appoint a guardian ad litem even though no application is made for such an appointment.

(5) The clerk of petty sessions shall, as soon as practicable, notify the parties and any welfare officer in Form C41 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 clerk of petty sessions shall, as soon as practicable, notify him of the appointment in Form C41 and serve on him copies of the application and of documents filed under rule 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 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 five 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 of 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 reasons in writing for so doing, and the clerk of petty sessions shall notify the parties, any welfare officer and the guardian ad litem of the termination in Form C41.

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