(1) This section applies to proceedings under this Act in which a child's best interests are, or a child's welfare is, the paramount, or a relevant, consideration.
(2) If it appears to the court that the child's interests in the proceedings ought to be independently represented by a lawyer, the court:
(a) may order that the child's interests in the proceedings are to be independently represented by a lawyer; and
(b) may make such other orders as it considers necessary to secure that independent representation of the child's interests.
(3) However, if the proceedings arise under regulations made for the purposes of section 111B, the court:
(a) may order that the child's interests in the proceedings be independently represented by a lawyer only if the court considers there are exceptional circumstances that justify doing so; and
(b) must specify those circumstances in making the order.
Note: Section 111B is about the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
(4) A court may make an order for the independent representation of the child's interests in the proceedings by a lawyer:
(a) on its own initiative; or
(b) on the application of:
(i) the child; or
(ii) an organisation concerned with the welfare of children; or
(iii) any other person.
(5) Without limiting paragraph (2)(b), the court may make an order under that paragraph for the purpose of allowing the lawyer who is to represent the child's interests to find out what the child's views are on the matters to which the proceedings relate.
Note: A person cannot require a child to express his or her views in relation to any matter, see section 60CE.
(6) Subsection (5) does not apply if complying with that subsection would be inappropriate because of:
(a) the child's age or maturity; or
(b) some other special circumstance.