Is a Court bound by recommendations made by the Office of the Children’s Lawyer?
Once the Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL) gets involved in a case, clinical investigators prepare a written report, which is presented by the Children’s Lawyer for the Court’s benefit. The question then becomes, how much weight does a Court put on such reports? Courts generally put significant weight on them as they are independent third-party accounts of the child’s best interest. However, a Court is not legally bound to follow recommendations in the report, particularly where the Court finds the OCL’s recommendations are not supported by the evidence at hand. The ultimate weight given to the OCL’s reports depends on a highly qualitative analysis of their accuracy and reliability.