Andrew Lobb is a senior associate in the family team in St Austell. In this article he explains what a children’s guardian is and their role.


The children’s guardian and the solicitor for the child are appointed under the Children Act 1989.

They work ‘in tandem’, each providing their own skill and expertise, to ensure the best possible results for children involved in Family Court proceedings.

Importantly, under the Children Act 1989, the children’s guardian’s appointment is not an appointment to ‘represent’ the child, but is an appointment ‘for the child’.

The children’s guardian is under a duty to safeguard the interests of the child. Guardians are appointed for the purpose and duration of the proceedings.

Sometimes the views of a competent child may differ from those of the children’s guardian in relation to the child’s best interests. If so, the child’s solicitor is under a duty to represent the views of the child.

The children’s guardian is no longer required to attend directions hearings if the children’s solicitor attends.

However, a lot can happen at interim hearings, which are an opportunity for all the parties and their legal representatives to meet. The situation can develop quickly, and the children’s guardian plays a crucial part in the discussions and negotiations that take place. The solicitor for the child can only act on the guardian’s instructions; equally, the guardian will often require legal advice on the matters being discussed at court.

The Courts have previously emphasised the independent status of the children’s guardian. Only the court could appoint children’s guardians, or remove them from a case.

Further how important it is for children that childrens guardians exercise independent judgement when working with solicitors in the ‘tandem model’.

To ensure the court process is fair and showing the importance of the opinion of the childrens guardian, the order of evidence is long established, and is a sequence that has to be adhered to unless the court directs otherwise, being:

  • the applicant
  • any party with parental responsibility for the child
  • other respondents
  • the children’s guardian
  • the child, if he is a party and there is no children’s guardian.

The importance of the “tandem model” should not be underestimated.


If you have any questions with the content in this article, then please don’t hesitate to contact Andrew Lobb on 01726 74433 or email