Lodging the assessment application

Parties may consider lodging an application for an assessment when:

  1. There is a need to unravel the complications of cases that are unclear and there is dispute over what is in the best interests of the child
  2. The information required is clinical in nature.
  3. The information needed will assist the court to decide how best to ensure children and young people’s safety, welfare and well-being (s.56).

The court will be aided in its decision, and the Children's Court Clinic will be better able to provide a useful assessment, if a clear summary of the case, agreed by all parties involved, is provided in the Application for an Assessment Order. Included with this summary should be the questions that the parties wish to resolve and a relevant and succinct list of issues to be addressed by the clinician. See 'Questions in an Assessment Order' in this chapter. 


Assessments can only be conducted with the valid consent of the person(s) being assessed. This is required before an assessment application is lodged. The person to be assessed clearly needs to be informed of the need for the assessment. Valid consent involves ensuring the person understands the reasons for seeking the particular assessment, what the assessment will involve and what the likely outcomes will be from the assessment.

Often the legal representative of the person being assessed will consent on the person's behalf in court. This implies a duty of care from the legal representative to explain to his or her client the reasons for seeking the particular assessment order(s), what the assessment may involve, and what the likely outcomes will be for the assessment.

A child or young person can refuse to submit to an assessment if he or she is of sufficient understanding to make an informed decision s.53(4).

Last updated Friday 23rd February 2024