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(1) For the purposes of—
(a) any relevant application,
(b) the signification by any person of any consent to placement or adoption,
rules must provide for the appointment in prescribed cases of an officer of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (“the Service”).
(2) The rules may provide for the appointment of such an officer in other circumstances in which it appears to the Lord Chancellor to be necessary or expedient to do so.
(3) The rules may provide for the officer—
(a) to act on behalf of the child upon the hearing of any relevant application, with the duty of safeguarding the interests of the child in the prescribed manner,
(b) where the court so requests, to prepare a report on matters relating to the welfare of the child in question,
(c) to witness documents which signify consent to placement or adoption,
(d) to perform prescribed functions.
(4) A report prepared in pursuance of the rules on matters relating to the welfare of a child must—
(a) deal with prescribed matters (unless the court orders otherwise), and
(b) be made in the manner required by the court.
(5) A person who—
(a) in the case of an application for the making, varying or revocation of a placement order, is employed by the local authority which made the application,
(b) in the case of an application for an adoption order in respect of a child who was placed for adoption, is employed by the adoption agency which placed him, or
(c) is within a prescribed description,
is not to be appointed under subsection (1) or (2).
(6) In this section, “relevant application” means an application for—
(a) the making, varying or revocation of a placement order,
(b) the making of an order under section 26, or the varying or revocation of such an order,
(c) the making of an adoption order, or
(d) the making of an order under section 84.
(7) Rules may make provision as to the assistance which the court may require an officer of the Service to give to it.
To be appointed: see s 148(1), (2).