Granting legal aid for voice of the child reports
Law centres and the Dolphin House Service are granted delegated authority to authorise a voice of the child report in District Court custody, access, and guardianship proceedings and should do so in all such proceedings where legal aid is granted subject to the conditions set out below. Authority for such a report will be automatically granted when a delegated legal aid certificate for proceedings under the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 is granted.
This delegated authority does not extend to domestic violence proceedings and where a voice of the child report is sought in domestic violence proceedings an application must be made to Legal Services. Legal Services should grant authority for the report provided that the person on whose behalf the domestic violence order is sought is a child.
All grants of legal aid for voice of the child reports are conditional. That is to say the Board grants authority to obtain the report subject to the following conditions:
The court must order the report
- One report per child (who is the subject of the proceedings and in respect of whom the Court has ordered such a report) is authorised
- The expert appointed must have the proper qualification and experience outlined in Regulation 3(1) of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 (Childs’ Views Experts) Regulations 2018.
- The Board will pay, on behalf of the legally aided person, 50% of the relevant fee stipulated in the Regulations, in relation to the particular functions under section 32(6) of the 1964 Act that the expert has carried out.
- Where the expert is called as a witness the Board will pay, on behalf of the legally aided person, 50% of the expert’s expenses in attending court to a maximum of €250.