We are a ‘Voice’ for children who are subjects of public law and adoption proceedings before the courts in Northern Ireland.
The guardian ad litem is experienced in working with children and families. They are appointed by the Courts under the Children (NI) Order 1995 to safeguard the interests of children who are the subject of Court proceedings.
From the 6th March 2023 in line with the commencement of the implementation of The Adoption and Children Act (2022), The Children’s Court Guardian Agency for Northern Ireland (Establishment and Constitution) Order (Northern Ireland) 2023 will come into place.
This changes the name of the Agency from the Northern Ireland Agency for Guardian Ad Litem Agency (NIGALA) to the Children’s Court Guardian Agency for Northern Ireland.
Article 60 of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 provides that, in any case involving specified proceedings [specified proceedings are defined in Article 60(6) of the Order], the Court shall appoint a Guardian Ad Litem for the child concerned unless satisfied that it is not necessary to do so in order to safeguard his or her interest. The Guardian Ad Litem shall be appointed in accordance with rules of Court and shall be under a duty to safeguard the interests of the child in the manner prescribed by such rules. Similar provisions in relation to adoption cases are contained in Article 66 of the Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987.
Although the appointment of a GAL in adoption proceedings has been a feature of the Adoption Order for some years, such appointments were formerly made by means of special arrangements between the Northern Ireland Court Service and Health and Social Services Boards. No independent GAL Service, as is now required by the provisions of the Children Order and the Adoption Order (as amended by the Children Order), has hitherto existed.