Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 23 - Legal representation of children

Project No. 23

Commenced: 1971
Withdrawn: 1972

The reference arose from problems evident in court proceedings concerning a child’s guardianship, custody or adoption, which were drawn to the attention of the Committee by the Chief Justice. It was pointed out that in those proceedings, and also in proceedings taken under the Fatal Accidents Act 1959 (WA), protection of a child’s interests by separate representation was lacking. The Chief Justice contrasted these situations with proceedings where a child is a party and acts through a next friend or a guardian ad litem.

Terms of Reference

In 1971, the Committee was asked to consider in what circumstances the law should provide for the separate representation of children in court proceedings in which their interests are affected, but to which they are not parties.


The Committee’s recommendations were substantially implemented by the Legal Representation of Infants Act 1977 (WA). This was complemented by the Suitors’ Fund Act Amendment Act 1977 (WA), which enabled courts to order costs from the Suitors’ Fund for the representation of children.

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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