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Thursday, 13 September 2018

Teenager at centre of foster care dispute wins approval to choose his own solicitor

Written by Brian Farmer

A 14-year-old boy at the centre of family court litigation has persuaded a judge to let him choose his own solicitor.

Council social workers say the boy should not be cared for by his parents, but he disagrees and says he does not want to live with foster carers.

He has a guardian appointed by a judge who chose a solicitor to represent him during proceedings.

But the teenager wanted to dispense with the solicitor chosen for him by his guardian and asked Judge Clifford Bellamy to let him instruct one himself.

Judge Bellamy has now given the boy the go-ahead after analysing arguments at a private family court hearing.

The judge, who hears cases in Leicester, has outlined his decision in a written ruling.

He said the boy could not be identified.

"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," the ruling said.

"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 judge said the boy is "very intelligent" and produced a detailed 10-page written statement outlining his thoughts.

He said the quality of the writing and argument suggest the boy has a "maturity beyond his years".

The judge 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."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Joe Giddens / PA Wire.