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Training & Conferences

Children’s Rights and Children’s Voices

1 March 2021

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‘Even if people are still very young, they shouldn’t be prevented from saying what they think.’ Anne Frank

How do we make sure that the child’s voice is clearly heard over the clamour of competing voices from those physically present before the court in family proceedings?  As well as looking at the need for reform, this challenging and provocative conference will ask whether we are making full use of the tools already at our disposal and how we can make more effective and imaginative use of those.

Whether you act as a children’s guardian or an independent social worker; whether you are dealing with family court cases or immigration and asylum, the key to practice is effective communication with children and bringing the child’s authentic voice to the tribunal.

Speakers will be discussing the latest research on effective communication with children – making sure the information and choices are understood and that you have really understood the answer.  How the children’s guardian and independent social worker can ensure that the authentic voice of the child is really heard and what the children at the centre of these cases say.  We shall also look at the latest guidance on when and how the child is entitled to give direct instructions to their legal representatives.  Our very experienced chair will also look at whether, in public and private law cases, the child’s voice is fully reaching the bench and what we can do to make it clearer.

Chair of the Conference:  The Honourable Mrs Justice Theis DBE

The highly experienced presenters who will challenge our thinking from differing perspectives include:

  • Martha Cover Barrister and joint Chair Coram Chambers. The child’s voice in family proceedings.
  • Family Justice Young People’s Board:  The child’s perspective.
  • Alison Paddle, former Children’s Guardian and former Nagalro Chair: The role of the children’s guardian as messenger and independent adviser.
  • Gillian Ruch, Professor of Social Work, University of Sussex.  Effective communication with children.
  • William Tyler QC and joint head of chambers The 36 Group:  Does the current system allow the child to participate in the proceedings?  If not, what needs to be done? 

This event will take place online on 1 March 2021, 9.30 am – 1.30 pm

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