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Abstract

This article examines the role of the guardian ad litem service in Ireland within the context of public law proceedings. In the first part, the role of the guardian ad litem in Irish courts is outlined and this is followed by a discussion of the broader legal context informing the right of children to be heard in Irish courts. The article discusses some of the concerns about the lack of statutory regulation, standards and structure in the Irish guardian ad litem system. The tension inherent in expressing the wishes and views of children while making recommendations regarding their welfare and best interests is also considered. The article concludes with the view that giving children a statutory right to be heard which is not supported with adequate resources and proper frameworks is of limited value.

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