• Antony Wilkinson

Judge allows ‘mature’ 14-year-old to choose his own lawyer

Judge allows ‘mature’ 14-year-old to choose his own lawyer

A 14-year-old boy described as mature beyond his years has been allowed to choose his own solicitor in care proceedings.

The boy, who can’t be named for legal reasons, is opposing a move by social workers to have him placed with foster carers. He says he wants to remain with his parents despite concerns about them raised by the local authority.

The boy’s court-appointed guardian nominated a solicitor for him, but he wants to make his own choice.

The judge hearing the case said: “I have come to the conclusion that in this case (the boy) does have the ‘understanding’ required by the rules to enable him to instruct his own solicitor.

“There are no sufficient welfare reasons why that should not happen. I shall therefore order that he has permission to instruct his own solicitor.”

The boy is described as very intelligent. He has produced a 10-page statement explaining his reasons for wanting to stay with his parents.

The judge said the quality of the writing and argument suggest a “maturity beyond his years”.

He added: “In conversation, he comes across as extremely articulate and highly intelligent. I found him to be a very engaging young man.

“So far as concerns the future, he has set the bar high. He wants to go to university. He hopes to go to Cambridge. He wants to study medicine.”

If you would like more information or advice about the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of family law please contact our expert legal team on 0208 004 0065, by email at hello@southgate.co.uk or using the form below.

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