Children’s Hearings

Children’s Hearings legal issues include: Social Work referral cases; appeals against decisions of Children’s Hearings; Social Work complaints; Children’s Panels; Child Protection Orders; and Place of Safety Warrants. Latta & Co solicitors – Children’s Hearing Lawyers based in Glasgow and providing advice, assistance and representation in Children’s Hearings across Scotland.

Some children and young people throughout their lives may require additional support or guidance. This may be because a parent is struggling to meet the child’s needs or the child may have committed a crime. The Children’s Hearing System aims to protect children and young people from the risk of harm and also provide supervision for those children in need.

Both parents and children are entitled to legal representation at Children’s Hearings and any related court hearings. This is because the decisions made by the members of the Children’s Hearing (formerly the Children’s Panel) have a massive and lasting impact on the family lives of children and their parents. If you are notified of a children’s hearing or your local social work department are involved with your family you should contact us and ask for an appointment with a Children’s Hearing lawyer immediately. We are happy to assist clients throughout Scotland, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness.

The decisions made by the Children’s Hearing and social workers usually amount to an interference in the parent or child’s human rights. Latta & Co specialise in protecting individual’s rights and we have significant experience representing clients at children’s hearings and throughout the related court process.

The procedure usually involves the parents being notified by the Children’s Reporter that the local social work department is concerned about their child. If the concerns are serious enough the child may be removed from the care of his or her parent’s. This requires a court order named a child protection order, which lasts eight days. Parents and children have the right to apply for these orders to be revoked. Latta & Co solicitors can assist you by making such an application on your behalf and represent you at the hearing.

Following the expiry of the Child Protection Order, the child may then be kept away from his or her parents by the use of a place of safety warrant which is issued by the Children’s Hearing. This is a decision of a Children’s Hearing and is subject to a right of appeal. That means both the parent and child can instruct a Children’s Hearing lawyer to make an appeal on their behalf if there are grounds for doing so. Latta & Co solicitors have considerable experience appealing decisions of Children’s Hearings and our lawyers have had a significant amount of success.

The Children’s Reporter will usually provide children and parent’s with a list of the concerns the social workers have. This list is formally called the grounds for referral. These grounds along with a list of alleged facts will be accepted or denied by the parents and the children at a children’s hearing. If the child or children are too young to understand the grounds or a parent denies the grounds the list is referred to the Sheriff at the local Sheriff Court. The court will fix a hearing for evidence to be given in support of the grounds and the parents and children will be given an opportunity to put forward their own evidence to support their case.

Children’s Hearings and Social Work Referral cases are now governed by the Children’s Hearing (Scotland) Act 2011. You can find a link to it here: Children’s Hearing (Scotland) Act 2011. The law is very complicated in this area and is changing quickly. It is important that people involved in the Children’s Hearing system obtain professional advice as soon as possible.

Latta & Co solicitors offer professional legal services for parents and children involved in all stages of the Children’s Hearing system. Legal aid is available for those clients who qualify and we would be delighted to assess your eligibility for legal aid.

Please contact us for an appointment with one of our Children’s Hearing Lawyers via telephone on 0141 222 2185, email enquiries@lattalaw.co.uk or book a consultation here via the website.

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