Guardianship of Infants Act 1964

F74 [ Safeguards to ensure applicant s awareness of alternatives to custody, access and guardianship proceedings and to assist attempts at agreement.

20

20. (1) In this section the applicant means a person who has applied, is applying or proposes to apply to the court for directions under section 6A, 11 or 11B.

(2) If a solicitor is acting for the applicant, the solicitor shall, before the institution of proceedings under section 6A, 11 or 11B, discuss with the applicant the possibility of the applicant

( a ) engaging in counselling to assist in reaching an agreement with the respondent about the custody of the child, the right of access to the child or any other question affecting the welfare of the child and give to the applicant the name and address of persons qualified to give counselling on the matter,

( b ) engaging in mediation to help to effect an agreement between the applicant and the respondent about the custody of the child, the right of access to the child or any question affecting the welfare of the child, F75 [ give to the applicant the names and addresses of persons who provide a mediation service and inform the applicant of the matters referred to in sections 10 and 11 of the Mediation Act 2017 ] , and

( c ) where appropriate, effecting a deed or agreement in writing executed or made by the applicant and the respondent and providing for the custody of the child, the right of access to the child or any question affecting the welfare of the child.

(3) If a solicitor is acting for the applicant

( a ) the original documents by which the proceedings under section 6A, 11 or 11B are instituted shall be accompanied by a F76 [ statutory declaration made by the solicitor ] indicating, if it be the case, that the solicitor has complied with subsection (2) in relation to the matter and, if the document is not so accompanied, the court may adjourn the proceedings for such period as it considers reasonable to enable the solicitor to engage in the discussions referred to in subsection (2),

( b ) if the solicitor has complied with paragraph ( a ), any copy of the original document served on any person or left in an office of the court shall be accompanied by a copy of that F77 [ statutory declaration ] .

(4) The solicitor shall be deemed to have complied with subsection (3) in relation to the requirement of a F77 [ statutory declaration ] where the application under section 6A, 11 or 11B is made in proceedings for the grant of

( a ) a decree of judicial separation under the Act of 1989 and section 5(2) of that Act has been complied with by the solicitor, or

( b ) a decree of divorce under the Act of 1996 and section 6(4) of that Act has been complied with by the solicitor. ]