Changes to Children's Hearings rules approved by the Scottish Parliament

Date: 12th February 2021
Category: Family Environment and Alternative Care

Drawing shows children sitting on a rainbow talking about their rights.

Scottish Parliament has approved changes to the Children’s Hearings rules to make sure brothers and sisters can take part in hearings that may affect their contact.

Brothers and sisters already have the right to ask to be part of their sibling’s Hearing but the new changes will strengthen the existing rules. Clan Childlaw, which has campaigned on this issue for many years said the new rules “should mean that brothers and sisters always have their rights respected.”

Brothers and sisters can mean anyone with an ‘ongoing relationship with the character of a relationship between siblings’. This means, brothers and sisters do not need to share a parent, they just need to have lived together and to be important in each other’s lives.

Courts will be obliged to take into account the effect an order they are contemplating could have on the child’s important relationships. Where children live and what contact they have with their parents, following the ending of their parents’ relationship are examples of the situations courts must consider. This obligation will also mean better support for care experienced siblings to maintain their relationships when the state takes one or more of them into care.

It is expected that these changes will come into force on the 26th July 2021.

  • Find out more here. 
  • Read the new changes here. 
  • Read more about Clan Childlaw’s ABC court case that these changes follow on from here.