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A new role for the Guardian ad Litem Panel

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed by the Department of Attorney General and Justice (DAGJ), Legal Aid New South Wales (Legal Aid) and Department of Human Services, Family and Community Services (FACS) in relation to children and young persons in out of home care who may have claims against the State of NSW.

FACS has responsibilities for the provision of child protection and out of home care services to children and young persons living in NSW. It is the responsibility of FACS to arrange for a child or young person in the care of the Minister or Director General to have access to legal advice and necessary assistance in relation to possible claims for comepnsation, including against the State.

In order to avoid a clear conflict of interest, the MOU provides for the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) by DAGJ, at the request of CS, to manage the process of obtaining legal advice in relation to a possible claim against the State. Legal Aid has agreed to arrange for legal advice on instructions from a GAL in relation to the merits of any possible claim. In appropriate cases, the GAL may continue as tutor for the child or young person in proceedings against the State.

The MOU proivdes a range of protections for GALs in these matters and the costs of the scheme will be met by FACS.

Click here to view a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding