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Webinar: Meeting with children via technology

Tuesday 26 October 2021

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Since the Covid-19 pandemic we have all needed to pivot to remote engagement with courts and clients. This webinar explores the experience of ICLs meeting with children via technology, tips, traps, the challenges and the learnings. His Honour Judge Peter Cole OAM, FCFCOA will open the session followed by Her Honour Judge Kylie Beckhouse, FCFCOA who will chair a panel discussion with senior ICLs Frances Neilson, Legal Aid NSW, Marika Ruzyla, Victoria Legal Aid and Senior Court Child Expert Ailsa Robinson, FCFCOA.

Webinar resources: Click the following link to access the Good practice guide for lawyers – meeting with children via technology published by LANSW, which is referenced during the webinar. State specific versions of this guide may be available, please contact your local Legal Aid Commission to enquire.

About the presenters

Chair: Her Honour Judge Kylie Beckhouse, FCFCOA

Judge Beckhouse has a distinguished career in the family law jurisdiction. From private practice, where she gained specialist accreditation, she went on to serve as Director of the family law division of Legal Aid NSW. In 2017 she was recognised as the NSW Women’s Lawyer of the Year. She has contributed to the work of many advisory committees such as the National Children’s Committee and Family Law Council of Australia. She regularly speaks on a range of topics in family law including her research completed as a Churchill Fellow on the involvement of children in family law processes.

Frances Neilson, Solicitor in Charge, Central Sydney Family Litigation, Legal Aid NSW

Frances Neilson is the Solicitor in Charge of Legal Aid NSW’s Central Sydney Family Litigation practice. She is an accredited specialist in family law with more than 25 years’ experience, much of it working for Legal Aid NSW. Frances regularly undertakes the representation of children in complex matters both in the FCFCOA and Children’s Court.

Marika Ruzyla, Senior Lawyer, Victoria Legal Aid

Marika Ruzyla was admitted to the legal profession in 2009. After completing her Article Clerkship in private practice she relocated to Darwin, Northern Territory where she worked as a Family Law and Child Support solicitor until 2010. In 2011 Marika commenced employment at Victoria Legal Aid as a Family Law solicitor and subsequently became a Senior Family Lawyer and Deputy Managing Lawyer until joining Victoria Legal Aid Chambers as In-house Counsel from 2015 until 2018 appearing in Family Law (including as Counsel for the Independent Children’s Lawyer), Family Violence, Child Support and Child Protection matters across the State.

Marika completed the Independent Children’s Lawyer National Training accreditation in 2015 and has worked exclusively as an Independent Children’s Lawyer since 2018 in the Victoria Legal Aid in-house team.

Ailsa Robinson, Senior Court Child Expert, Court Children’s Service, FCFCOA

Ailsa Robinson is a Senior Court Child Expert (formerly known as a Senior Family Consultant) with the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, based in Sydney. She has 10 years’ experience working for the Court, and a history of working for child protection, juvenile justice and health services before that. Ailsa, and the other Court Child Experts have been interviewing children and young people of all ages, and sometimes observing them with their caregivers, via video call for 18 months now (they did manage to see some children in person during that time, but for the past three months, it’s all been by video). Ailsa is aware of the problems and benefits of video interviews with children during lockdown, including the unexpected interruptions of Court Child Experts’ pets, as well as the comfort of children’s pets for them when they’re being interviewed!

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