Children subject to public law cases are usually represented by both a publicly-funded legal representative and a Cafcass guardian, known as the ‘tandem model’ of representation. This research explored how this model is working in practice during public law proceedings, and whether any reforms to the model are feasible or appropriate to ensure the rights of the child are safeguarded, efficient judicial case management is supported and public resources are effectively allocated.
The report presents the findings from a mixed-method, two-phased study. Phase 1 involved a data collection exercise where family judges were asked to provide information detailing the case characteristics and representation of children for every public law hearing in September 2016. Phase two included four qualitative focus groups with family law professionals (comprising Cafcass guardians and managers, legal representatives and local authorities), and 8 in-depth interviews with the judiciary.