What is the Office of the Children's Lawyer?

Region: Ontario Answer # 968

The Office of the Children’s Lawyer, originally called the Official Guardian, is a law office in the Ministry of the Attorney General. The origin of the Office of the Children’s Lawyer in Ontario can be traced back to 1826 when the Lord Chancellor of Ontario appointed a lawyer to be guardian of children when they were being sued and to represent their interests in court.

Today, the Children’s Lawyer is responsible to the Attorney General for the delivery of legal services on behalf of children in proceedings before courts and tribunals in Ontario. They deliver programs in the administration of justice on behalf of children under the age of 18 with respect to their personal and property rights.

Lawyers within the office represent children in various areas of law including child custody and access disputes, child protection proceedings, estate matters and civil litigation. In child custody cases, social workers, called clinical investigators, prepare child custody and access reports for the court and may assist lawyers who are representing children in such matters.

The Children’s Lawyer can also act as Litigation Guardian, where a minor is being sued or wants to sue someone and there is no parent or adult guardian to assist them.  In cases where a child is a beneficiary under a Will, the Children’s Lawyer may provide many services, including interpretation of the Will, challenging the validity of the Will, and making claims for support or division of property. If a child is being neglected or abused, in addition to Children’s Aid being involved, the court may appoint a separate lawyer from the Office of the Children’s Lawyer to represent the child’s interests.

For assistance, contact the Office of the Children’s Lawyer.

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