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Special assistance and support persons

It is important to recognise that all children and young people may require general assistance when involved in a Children’s Court process. The court operates under a legal structure which may be confusing for children and young people.

In addition, a child or young person may require special assistance:

  • with language, via the services of an interpreter
  • if the child or young person is Aboriginal or from a culturally or linguistically diverse background
  • because of a physical, intellectual or learning disability or cognitive impairment.

A support person can attend the Children’s Court to assist, but does not typically appear on behalf of people appearing in court. A support person’s attendance will generally not be allowed if:

  • the proposed support person is a witness
  • the child or young person opposes the support person’s presence
  • there is another reason to deny permission, such as where the support person’s presence is considered against the best interests of the child or young person.

A support person must comply with any direction given by the magistrate during the hearing or other court attendance. A support person is not allowed to give instructions to a solicitor at the hearing, but may act as an interpreter if the court agrees. It is important that the support person or agency maintains a focus on the best interests of the child or young person who is the subject of the proceedings.

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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019