Legal representation on behalf of minor children

Often children become embroiled in litigious matters where decisions pertaining to their primary residency and care, contact and/or emigration, needs to be taken. Eventhough the Children’s Act (38 of 2005) is aimed at also taking into consideration the wishes of minor children, it is often disregarded by a parent/caregiver in want of his/her own need/agenda.
Section 10 of the Children’s Act entitles every child to participate in an appropriate way in any matter concerning a child. Section 10 further emphasizes that due consideration must be given to the views expressed by the child concerned. The views expressed by a child should obviously be weighed-up against the age, maturity and stage of development of the child.
Section 14 of the Children’s Act entitles every child to be assisted in bringing a matter to Court – the section does not stipulate that a child must be assisted by a guardian in bringing a matter to Court. Section 14 must also be read with section 15, and more specifically section 15(2), listing the persons who may approach a court aimed at the enforcement of rights, and which includes the child affected or involved in a matter to be adjudicated, as well as any person acting in the interest of the child.
There is therefore no prohibition on a minor child being legally represented where the best interests of a child are at stake.

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