Legal representation is fundamentally, important to children and young people: it has the potential to support their, participation in decision making that affects their lives and it has the potential to support their legal rights. Legal representation of children also performs an important function for courts. Lawyers may be appointed by the court to represent a child's best interests thereby assisting the court to make decisions that support a child's welfare. As the law has only relatively recently recognised children as individuals with rights, it comes as no surprise that legal representation for this group has lagged behind that offered to adults. It has also taken different forms. While legal representation has the potential to allow children and young people to be heard and to enforce their legal rights, research indicates that it does not always achieve this aim.