Important cases — Joinder

[3-1260] In re a Child [2022] NSWSC 671

Last reviewed: June 2024

Joinder application by paternal aunt for leave to appear in person in care proceedings — s 98(3) Care Act two-step process involving first a determination of whether the applicant has the genuine concern described, and second a decision whether or not to exercise the discretion to grant leave — aunt does not have genuine concern — aunt’s position is her desire to assist her brother in dispute with mother — joinder would add an additional layer of complexity to proceeding — potential to increase stress on child — leave refused.

AB and JB v Secretary [2021] NSWDC 626

Appeal from order refusing joinder of maternal grandparents in child care proceedings — maternal grandparents have reasonable prospects of success and should be heard — refusal order set aside — leave granted for joinder.

EC v Secretary, NSW Department of Family and Community Services [2019] NSWSC 226

Care Act ss 91, 98(3) — appeal from the Presidential Children’s Court to Supreme Court of NSW — application by Barnardos to be joined to proceedings — meaning of “person” in s 98(3) — Barnardos has “genuine concern for the safety, welfare and well-being” of children — discretion exercised for Barnardos to be joined as a party as in best interests of children — s 98(3) not limited to “natural person” — appeal dismissed.

Secretary, DFaCS and Krystal [2019] NSWChC 6

Care Act s 3 definition of “parent” — biological father did not hold parental responsibility — Family Court Order placed parental responsibility with step-father after death of mother — child accused step-father of sexual abuse — Care Act does not provide a right of appearance to a parent unless parent holds parental responsibility — distinction between biological parents not holding parental responsibility and persons who hold parental responsibility in respect of a child, the latter has statutory definition of “parent” and former is excluded — biological father not entitled to appear as of right in proceedings — court satisfied on the balance of probabilities that biological father has a genuine concern for the safety, welfare and well-being of the child — biological father’s application for joinder granted.

GO v Secretary, Department of Communities and Justice [2017] NSWDC 198

Joinder of person with genuine concern for the welfare of a child to care proceedings — appellant great-grandmother of child subject to care proceedings and carer of mother — leave to appeal decision of Children’s Court for joinder — magistrate erred in finding that appellant and mother held same position in care proceedings — leave granted to appellant to cross-examine and adduce evidence as to suitability as an alternative carer of child.

Department of Communities and Justice and Lara [2017] NSWChC 6

Application for joinder by carers under s 98(3) Care Act — genuine interest in child’s safety, welfare and well-being — unable to cope with behavioural difficulties — applicant’s Working with Children Check bar from historical allegation of sexual assault of a child — applicants do not have sufficient prospects of success — application for party status refused — application for joinder refused.