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Acting in the absence of a children's guardian

15 May 2017
This practice note provides guidance to solicitors appointed by the court to represent children in proceedings where there are delays between the order appointing a children's guardian in specified proceedings and the allocation of a children's guardian. Solicitors representing children must remain mindful of the guardian's duties under Practice Direction 16A, which sets out the children's guardian's duties to the court.

Legal status

This practice note is the Law Society's view of good practice in this area. It is not legal advice. 

Practice notes are issued by the Law Society for the use and benefit of its members. They represent the Law Society's view of good practice in a particular area. They are not intended to be the only standard of good practice that solicitors can follow. You are not required to follow them, but doing so will make it easier to account to oversight bodies for your actions.

Practice notes are not legal advice, nor do they necessarily provide a defence to complaints of misconduct or of inadequate professional service. While care has been taken to ensure that they are accurate, up to date and useful, the Law Society will not accept any legal liability in relation to them.

For queries or comments on this practice note contact the Law Society's Practice Advice Service.

Professional conduct

The following sections of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 are relevant to this issue:

Chapter 1 on Client Care
Chapter 5 on Your client and the court

SRA Principles
There are 10 mandatory principles which apply to all those the SRA regulates and to all aspects of practice. The principles can be found in the SRA Handbook.

Terminology

Must - A specific requirement in the Solicitor's Code of Conduct or legislation. You must comply, unless there are specific exemptions or defences provided for in the code of conduct or relevant legislation.

Should - Good practice for most situations in the Law Society's view. If you do not follow this, you must be able to justify to oversight bodies why this is appropriate, either for your practice, or in the particular retainer.

May - A non-exhaustive list of options for meeting your obligations. Which option you choose is determined by the risk profile of the individual practice, client or retainer. You must be able to justify why this was an appropriate option to oversight bodies.

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