Tuesday, 26th September 2017

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Fixed Fee Separation and Divorce

Family Law

Legal Representation for Children and Young People



Your Estate Agent and Solicitor

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Are you a young person, parent, carer or someone working with a child or young person who needs legal advice?

Make an appointment with one of our family lawyers

Children and young people may need their own solicitor if they are involved in court proceedings or a children's hearing. Our family lawyers can explain the legal situation and process in simple terms so a child or young person can understand and participate.

The majority of children and young people will be entitled to legal aid, though in some situations the financial circumstances of their parents may be taken into account in deciding whether they are financially eligible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Legal representation for children and young people

What is a Child Welfare Hearing? [+]

Court actions concerning children and young people usually involve a Child Welfare Hearing (not to be confused with a Children’s Hearing). A Child Welfare Hearing is conducted in court in private. All the adults involved must attend and this should be an opportunity for all issues about children to be discussed. Children do not usually attend.

It is usually at this stage that the court needs to consider how to find out what a child’s wishes are, and whether the child needs his or her own solicitor. A child does not have to have their own solicitor in order to express a view to the court. Sometimes this is done by the court appointing a reporter to investigate and report to the court on the child’s welfare and wishes. Sometimes it is done by the child filling in a form setting out his/her wishes.

A child aged 12 or more is assumed to be able to understand enough about the court process to instruct his/her own solicitor. The child can meet in private with a solicitor and instruct the solicitor to put forward the child’s views to the court and seek court orders. Sometimes children younger than 12 are mature enough to do this too.

Our family lawyers are experienced at representing children in court. Some of them also regularly prepare reports for the courts and are experienced at assisting children to express their views and wishes.

If you are a parent, carer or someone working with a child or young person who is involved in court proceedings and wishes to have advice from a solicitor, make an appointment for the child to meet with one of our family lawyers and discuss this with us. The majority of children and young people will be entitled to legal aid, though in some situations the financial circumstances of their parents may be taken into account in deciding whether they are financially eligible.

I am aged 16 or over - can I claim financial support from my parents? [+]

Parents have financial obligations to young people in appropriate full time education or training up to and including the age of twenty four. Between the ages of sixteen and eighteen financial support for a young person can be paid from one parent to the other or from the parent to the young person direct. Where the support is for a young person of eighteen and over the support is paid to the young person.

If you are a young person in full time education or training and wish to have advice from a solicitor, make an appointment with one of our family lawyers to discuss this.

The majority of children and young people will be entitled to legal aid, though in some situations the financial circumstances of their parents may be taken into account in deciding whether they are financially eligible.

Children's Hearings

What is the Children's Hearing System? [+]

Children’s Hearings were set up in Scotland in the 1970s to deal with children who are in trouble with the law or who are at risk of harm in the community. This took children under 16 generally out of the criminal court system (except for very serious offences). But the system also deals with cases where the parents are accused of harming their children, or allowing them to come to harm by not looking after them properly.

What is a Children's Reporter? [+]

The Children’s Reporter administers the system, investigates cases which are referred by agencies such as the police, social workers or health visitors, and decides whether cases should be referred to the Children’s Panel. They will get information about the child to help them make a decision - they might speak to a social worker if the child has one, or their teacher.

What is a Children's Panel? [+]

The Children’s Panel is a tribunal of three lay people, who are representatives of the community with an interest in children. They are not social workers or employees of the local authority.

Who will be at a Children’s Hearing? [+]

The child or young person, unless the Hearing has decided that they do not have to attend, the people who look after the child, three Panel Members who will make the decisions, the Children’s Reporter who will record what has been decided and a social worker. There may be a person called a Safeguarder - they are there to help the panel make the right decisions for the child. The child can also bring someone along like a friend or teacher to represent and support them.

What happens at a Children's Hearing? [+]

Children’s Hearings take place in private. The Panel considers “grounds of referral” which is a statement of the reasons why the child has been brought to the Children’s Hearing. If these reasons are not accepted by the child and his/her parents, then the case is referred to the Sheriff for a decision. If the Sheriff decides that the reasons for the referral are well founded, then the case goes back to the Children’s Panel for a decision on the future care of the child.

What decisions can the Children's Panel make? [+]

The Panel may decide to make a Supervision Requirement, which means that social workers will be involved in monitoring the care of the child. It is also possible, in serious cases, for the Children’s Panel to decide to take the child away form his/her parents to reside with other family members, foster carers or in a residential home or school.

How long does a Supervision Requirement last? [+]

A supervision requirement should only last as long as it is necessary to secure the child’s welfare and not longer than one year unless it has been reviewed and continued. Any supervision requirement will automatically terminate when the young person turns eighteen.

Sometimes children need separate legal advice - Legal Representation for Children and Young People

Family Law

Family Law

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