Guardianship of Infants Act 1964

F78 [ Safeguards to ensure respondent s awareness of alternatives to custody, access and guardianship proceedings and to assist attempts at agreement.

21

21. (1) In this section the respondent means a respondent in proceedings in the court under section 6A, 11 or 11B.

(2) If a solicitor is acting for the respondent, the solicitor shall, as soon as practicable after receiving instructions from the respondent in relation to proceedings under section 6A, 11 or 11B discuss with the respondent the possibility of the respondent

( a ) engaging in counselling to assist in reaching an agreement with the applicant 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 respondent the name and addresses of persons qualified to give counselling on the matter,

( b ) engaging in mediation to help to effect an agreement between the respondent and the applicant about the custody of the child, the right of access to the child or any question affecting the welfare of the child and F79 [ , give to the respondent the names and addresses of persons who provide a mediation service and inform the respondent 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 respondent and the applicant 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 respondent

( a ) the memorandum or other documents delivered to the appropriate officer of the court for the purpose of the entry of an appearance by the respondent in proceedings under section 6A, 11 or 11B shall be accompanied by a F80 [ 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 given or sent to the applicant or his solicitor shall be accompanied by a copy of that F81 [ statutory declaration ] .

(4) The solicitor shall be deemed to have complied with subsection (3) in relation to the requirement of a F81 [ 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 6(2) of that Act has been complied with by the solicitor, or

( b ) a decree of divorce under the Act of 1996 and section 7(4) of that Act has been complied with by the solicitor. ]