Children’s Hearings and Referrals

Scotland’s system of Children’s Hearings is unique. Designed to help children and families who are in need of care and support, the process affects the lives of many.

The process begins when the police, the child’s school or the social work department make a referral to the Children’s Reporter. It may be that the child has committed a crime, is not attending school or is otherwise in need of care and protection. Whilst the system is intended to help, and is designed to be relatively informal, a referral triggers the start of what can be a daunting and emotional process for all involved.

The Reporter will investigate the matter and ask the Children’s Hearing to consider the child’s case. If there is a dispute as to how any identified problems should be dealt with, the case will be referred to the Sheriff Court. This is what is called a Children’s Referral.

Both parents and children are entitled to legal representation at Children’s Hearings and any related Court Referrals. If you are notified of a children’s hearing or your local Social Work department are involved with your family, we can help.

It is crucial that you secure the best legal advice immediately. Decisions made by the Courts and Children’s Hearing can have a huge impact on the entire family. Our solicitors can give you advice, fully inform you of your options and ensure that your voice is heard by those making the decisions in the process. If you feel a wrong decision has been reached, we can also assist you with any appeal.

We at Jain, Neil & Ruddy have extensive experience of these types of hearings and are authorised by the Scottish Legal Aid Board to provide advice and assistance to you if you are invovled in the Children’s Hearing System. We are able to assist and guide you at every stage of the process. It is advisable to seek legal advice as early as possible to ensure your rights are protected.

If you require any advice in relation to this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.