Changes to the Children (Scotland) Act
The factors which Scottish courts must consider when deciding matters in relation to children are changing. The changes are being brought about by The Children (Scotland) Act 2020, passed in August last year. There is not, as yet, a confirmed date for it to come into legal effect but when it does it will bring about a number of significant changes.
- The current presumption that only children aged 12 and over are considered mature enough to give their views on cases concerning their welfare will be replaced. The new act, instead, dictates that all children will be able to give their views. Once given, the decision maker must give regard to those views, while taking into account the child’s age and level of maturity.
- The outdated F9 form will be abandoned and children will now be able to express their views in whichever way they are most comfortable.
- The act places an obligation on the courts to explain all decisions to children in a way they can understand.
- Local authorities will now have a legal duty to consider how to maintain contact between siblings, in a situation where they have been placed apart.