In general, all lawyers owe a duty of confidentiality to their client. The fact that the Children’s Lawyer represents a child makes no difference—the same level of confidentiality is required, subject to exception. Where the Children’s Lawyer suspects the child suffers abuse or neglect while in the course of their legal duties, the Children’s Lawyer has a decision to make. The lawyer can breach confidentiality and alert the Children’s Aid Society, or not. The determining factor is whether the Children’s Lawyer has reasonable grounds to believe there is imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm to the child. Where such immediate risk is ascertained, the Children’s Lawyer is expected to divulge privileged information in service of the child’s safety.
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About the author
Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.