Child Care Act, 1991

Power of court to join child as a party and costs of child as a party.

25.—(1) If in any proceedings under Part IV or VI the child to whom the proceedings relate is not already a party, the court may, where it is satisfied having regard to the age, understanding and wishes of the child and the circumstances of the case that it is necessary in the interests of the child and in the interests of justice to do so, order that the child be joined as a party to, or shall have such of the rights of a party as may be specified by the court in, either the entirety of the proceedings or such issues in the proceedings as the court may direct. The making of any such order shall not require the intervention of a next friend in respect of the child.

(2) Where the court makes an order under subsection (1) or a child is a party to the proceedings otherwise than by reason of such an order, the court may, if it thinks fit, appoint a solicitor to represent the child in the proceedings and give directions as to the performance of his duties (which may include, if necessary, directions in relation to the instruction of counsel).

(3) The making of an order under subsection (1) or the fact that a child is a party to the proceedings otherwise than by reason of such an order shall not prejudice the power of the court under section 30 (2) to refuse to accede to a request of a child made thereunder.

(4) Where a solicitor is appointed under subsection (2), the costs and expenses incurred on behalf of a child exercising any rights of a party in any proceedings under this Act shall be paid by the health board concerned. The health board may apply to the court to have the amount of any such costs or expenses measured or taxed.

(5) The court which has made an order under subsection (2) may, on the application to it of a health board, order any other party to the proceedings in question to pay to the board any costs or expenses payable by that board under subsection (4).