Autonomy vs Beneficence: Ethics and the Representation of Children and Young People in Legal Proceedings
AbstractDiffering approaches have developed in relation to the legal representation of children and young people. The two dominant approaches are ‘direct’ representation (where the lawyer acts on the instructions of the child) and ‘best interests’ representation (where the lawyer acts separately upon an assessment of the child’s best interests or receives instructions from a responsible adult). Given that international law recognises that children have the capacity to participate in legal processes, this article will consider the ways in which children are legally represented across Australia, analyse their strengths and weaknesses, and suggest options to reduce ethical concerns.
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