What's in a name?
By now some of you may have heard the term “Litigation Guardian”. Whether you have heard the term or not, we are often met with the question “what is it”. Sometimes in order to explain things it is best to do so in the purest form possible.
Litigation- the process of taking legal action
Guardian- a defender, protector, or keeper
The name suggests that when legal action is taken, a child deserves a protector. I would like to assert that not only do they deserve a protector they are entitled to one under the Children Act 1998 Sec 35. That’s correct, every child in specified proceedings has the right to have a Litigation Guardian. Unfortunately, in the island of Bermuda this right is only recognized as a formality introduced in court matters by certain counsel who acknowledge the positive implications of the Litigation Guardian.
How is it that in 2018, in a civilized sophisticated society it can be considered acceptable that one’s rights can be trampled upon? Sounds odd right? Doesn’t seem possible that something like that would or could happen here in beautiful, developed, Bermuda. Sadly, it does. Almost every day cases are heard in Bermuda that require that children have access to a Litigation Guardian - and yet they do not.
In these legal proceedings, every party has a say except the ones who the decision directly impact. Whilst a Court’s orders might mandate specific action for parents and/or responsible adults the harsh reality is that the child lives with the consequence- good, bad, and indifferent. The children of today will become the adults of tomorrow, we owe it to our children and our country to ensure that the wrongs of the past 20 years do not continue to be our norm.
We say it’s past time for something different to be done if we truly want change. Our children deserve better, it has been 20 years too long.
When spiderwebs unite they can tie up a lion- African Proverb
Bermuda, let’s unite to tie up 20 years of injustice.