The government is planning to change the system of accreditation and introduce a more centralised guardian ad litem system in child care proceedings.
The recommendations – expected by April – are being prepared for review by ministers.
To represent children, solicitors currently need to be members of the Children Panel of the Law Society, which involves being interviewed and assessed. They must have qualified at least three years ago and have attended a one-day course on skills and practice. Membership of the panel is regularly reviewed.
The Association of Lawyers for Children is keen to tighten up the selection procedure and extend compulsory membership of the panel to all public law proceedings.
Barristers do not have an accreditation system, but Allan Levy QC believes it is “very much on the horizon”.