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ICL failed in his duties

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Failure by ICL to disclose evidence to parties and the courts

Hi all,

I have had a lot of trouble with ICL for the last 3 years, and from reading other posts this is not new.  However, the worst has finally happened.  At a recent court date and prior to that court date, the ICL failed to provide to all parties and then failed to disclose to the court information from the child's treating child psychiatrist.  This information is very specific and would have had a major impact on on interim orders (yes they are still interim after 3 years due to poor litigation by the applicant father and poor case management by the ICL).  End result is the interim orders have exacerbated the medical condition of the child whidh I thought they would but in the absence of anything else I had little choice.  My previous solicitor advised me that the ICL had advised them that they were over this case and I feel that this is just not good enough as they appear to not be representing the best interests of the children.

Has anyone got an advice as I am now self represented and don't know how or if I can have the ICL removed from the case and another one appointment that will actually look at the children's best interests?
I think the only way you could 'remove' and ICL would be by order of the court. Of course you would need your reasons and evidence. If you feel as if these drawn out proceedings are affecting the child then that may be a good reason for a final orders type hearing and maybe the appointment of a new ICL. I am not an expert on this though, maybe one of the SRL's may help a bit more as I have only ever been represented. Good luck.
Removal of an ICL is at the discretion of the Judicial Officer. You would for example need to demonstrate incompetence or clear bias and that they were acting outside of the guidelines for ICLs. Because you may not like an individual ICL or you believe they are biased or incompetent requires some 'real' evidence as to why they should be removed.

There is a truism amongst ICLs that people dont like the ones that disagree with them.

SRL-Resources. the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) www.srl-resources.org  Non gender Professional and peer support for SRLs. Closed site, no public forums, no search engines, no lurkers, guests or the other side and their Lawyer and Friends.
I understand the truism and on this occasion the child psychiatrist seems to be providing a contrary view the one the ICL wants to push.  But in saying that the ICL has lost a lot of money on this case.  This ICL has stood up in court on more than one occasion and got the facts of the case completely wrong, our solicitor had to correct them.  The ICL failed to respond to correspondence on not one but at least 12 occasions and they all related to the progression of the case.  In fact they related to trying to resolve the case through mediation but they just ignored it. The ICL has had a clerk managing the case.  The reason I know this is I rang the ICL one day and asked to speak to the lawyer and I was told that the clerk deals with all the ICL cases.  I said I didn't wish to speak to the clerk but was firmly told that the clerk is managing the case and is the appropriate person to talk to.  The ICL has contravened orders, ie just hasn;t done what was required, ie organising for court reportable counselling of the other party, arranging alternative contact centre arrangements, the ICL just didn't do it and each time we were in court would try and hide the issue by blaming someone else, IE the other parties.  The ICL after 3 years now thinks it is a good idea to talk to the children!!!  The ICL has failed to disclose evidence to all parties and this was evidence that was in the best interests of the children and has subsequently worsened their medical condition.  The unfortunate situation here is that the ICL is probably used to just running a process, ie mention, family report, mediation and final consent orders all in 6-12 months and at the end of the day the ICL doesn't really have to do anything.  This case doesn't fit into that category and they have just let it go and the health of the children is suffering and there just appears to be a lot of covering up going on, this is why I suspect the ICL is not acting in the best interest of the children.

What else would be considered "real evidence"?
What makes you think that the ICL has to disclose information or evidence to you?

4MYDAUGHTER
You tend to place a lot of weight on the psychiatric evaluations of the children in reagards to saying what "is in the children's best interests" and also claim that due to the ICL no doing his job properly that the children's psychiatric state has declined. 

Just out of curiosity motherconfused (and while not being certain myself of any confidentiality legalities when it comes to medical documents), but has your own lawyer subpoenaed the psychiatric files on the children so that they are freely accessible to the Court?

Was this a Court appointed psychiatrist or just one you found yourself?

Did the other parent agree to the children being psychiatrically assessed or under the care of a psychiatrist?

How have the interim orders exacerbated the "medical condition" of the children and how is this the ICL's fault given you consented to them? 

What is it that you are opposing in relation to what the ICL is trying to "push through"?  Are you seeking 'no contact' Orders for the other parent?

I'm sorry I just don't really understand.

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
motherconfused said
The ICL has had a clerk managing the case. The reason I know this is I rang the ICL one day and asked to speak to the lawyer and I was told that the clerk deals with all the ICL cases. I said I didn't wish to speak to the clerk but was firmly told that the clerk is managing the case and is the appropriate person to talk to.

If you have legal representation, you aren't allowed to contact the ICL directly.

The ICL is not obliged to disclose information.

In terms of removing an ICL, I took an indirect approach by creating a 'conflict of interest'.

I was aware that my facebook page was under surveillance by the ICL and mother's solicitor.

One day I searched facebook using the the ICL's email address. I found that the ICL was 'friends' with someone in my 'network' and therefore could view my page.

The ICL had created a facebook profile using not her own identity but using her own email address.

I suspected the mother's solicitor was viewing my page but to help out I changed my facebook profile to 'public'

I then sent the ICL a 'friend request' and she was silly enough to accept. The mother's solicitor jumped on this almost immediately and sent the ICL a 'please explain' letter.

The ICL contacted legal aid and requested that she be withdrawn from the case. Legal Aid supplier another.

For this strategy to work, I need the other party to also want the ICL removed - and I suspected they did. Because at the previous final orders hearing the ICL supported me.

The reason why I wanted the ICL removed was that she didn't support the Expert Witness "terms of reference" I put forward. Given it was a 'Magellen' matter involving sexual abuse allegations, I though it proper the Expert Witness interview my daughter. In fact I thought it was an absolute requirement! On the other hand the mother was seeking to prevent our daughter being interviewed. The ICL supported the mother's position. I don't know why. Perhaps she thought the allegations were a croc and the expert witness interviewing my daughter wasn't necessary. Who knows!

Unfortunately I had issues with the new ICL and in many respect she wasn't anywhere anywhere near as good as the previous one and it delayed the matter by least two months.

So replacing ICL's can have negative side effects.

Last edit: by 4mydaughter


4MYDAUGHTER
Thanks for the views as they are close to what I had expected, too be honest I don't know if ICL's really do help the matter, in partcular the children.  I woudl really like to see a positive story about ICL's and I have tried looking.

It seems to be a very strange system that has a situation such as yours 4mydaughter.

Crazyworld,  thanks for your thoughts and questions.  I understand where you are coming from and I suppose I am not looking for support in terms of "my view" if this ICL has done the wrong thing or not, I am looking for stories that have related to the removing of an ICL from thier case and the reasons why.  I understand that an ICL is not in a good position when you throw in parties that are obvioulsy holding oppoising views, if they didn't there woudl be no need for an ICL.

I think 4mydaughter has somed up the situation for me pretty neatly, that is it woudl be very hard to have the ICL removed and may not improve things anyway.
motherconfused said
Thanks for the views as they are close to what I had expected, too be honest I don't know if ICL's really do help the matter, in partcular the children……. I understand that an ICL is not in a good position when you throw in parties that are obvioulsy holding oppoising views, if they didn't there woudl be no need for an ICL.
That is contradictory.

Earlier you went on about the children being disadvantaged because of the ICL and then it turns out you had a solicitor, presumably they could have subpoenaed the information if it was relevant.

Did you solicitor make representations to the Court so the ICL would get a rollicking for their tardiness?

What does your solicitor say about the removal of the ICL. They are the ones to run the argument in Court not you.

Why are you trying to contact the ICL directly and why the smart comments about a Clerk?

4MD has given you one story and presumably there are judgements that deal with removal, get onto Austlii and also spend some time reading on this site.

Seems to me the ICL is negative towards you and you are looking for reasons to get them removed. I wonder is the Father complaining about the ICL?

Your posts are as enlightening as your spelling is accurate.
Thanks Conan for not denegrating me in anyway!!You may wish to review your post as it is not perfect with grammer or spelling either.

Nonetheless, it is hard to provide 3 years of facts for this case and I can see why people are jumping to conclusions.

Both parties have had issues with the ICL, forgetting childrens names, facts of the case, the ICL even got up in court one time and said that the other party sexaully abused one of our children when in fact it was another child (not much better but still relevant), as I said before, the ICL has contravened the orders by not doing what they were meant to on a number of occasions, this is becuase the clerk is "running" the case and the ICL is not across the case at all.

An ICL shouldn't be positive or negative towards other parties in the matter, they should be independant, so I find this an interesting observation from you Conan.

I have had legal representation on and off for the last 3 years as I am sure you can imagine the costs involved, not perfect I know but unfortuantely required. I am sorry I have not provided a chronological order of events.
motherconfused said
Thanks Conan for not denegrating me in anyway!!You may wish to review your post as it is not perfect with grammer or spelling either.
The site has a spell checker built into the posting area, not a grammAr checker. I am using the Australian/English dictionary from Firefox.
 
motherconfused said
Both parties have had issues with the ICL, forgetting childrens names, facts of the case, the ICL even got up in court one time and said that the other party sexaully abused one of our children when in fact it was another child (not much better but still relevant), as I said before, the ICL has contravened the orders by not doing what they were meant to on a number of occasions, this is becuase the clerk is "running" the case and the ICL is not across the case at all.
Only parties can contravene orders, ICLs and Lawyers only ignore Court directions. What is wrong with the Clerk running the case from the back room, happens on many occasions where they do much of the background work. How would you actually know this since the ICL will not speak to you?
 
motherconfused said
An ICL shouldn't be positive or negative towards other parties in the matter, they should be independant, so I find this an interesting observation from you Conan.
An ICL is there for the children not the parties, which of course will mean opinions will be formed about the parties parenting abilities. These opinions will of course be positive or negative with many shades of grey.
 
motherconfused said
I have had legal representation on and off for the last 3 years as I am sure you can imagine the costs involved, not perfect I know but unfortuantely required. I am sorry I have not provided a chronological order of events.
  Horrendous, that is why there are organisations that support SRLs.
Yes it is true.  Just like anyone an ICL can be fallible.  I remember mine asking for an urgent drug test of both myself and the other party.  When I asked him why a drug test was necessary, he looked at me puzzled and replied that it was because of the drug use claims made about me and the other side that I had raised in my materials.  I didn't bother to have the argument but I did leave wondering what imaginary documents he was referring to.  Of all the things he could have Ordered as an information gathering exercise, this was the least likely to generate any results.

I had a couple of obstacles I needed to overcome with mine but in hindsight I think overall he wasn't too bad considering the limitations placed on his role.  In an ideal world more funding would be made available to allow for ICL's to represent the children more effectively like meeting with the children on more than one occasion, possible home visits with the children at both parties residences etc but unfortunately this just can't happen.   

At the end of the day it is also the onus of the parties (or their legal reps) to ensure the children are being represented as best they can be too which includes making the Court aware of any Directions not being followed by the ICL and also drawing attention to any documents they think are important to their own case.   

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
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