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New guidance on child welfare hearings in the Sheriff Courts


Jul 13, 2022

Child welfare hearings should call in person in Sheriff Courts, according to new guidance produced by the Sheriffs Principal.

For all family actions commencing after 13 July 2022, the interlocutor will direct that the first child welfare hearing will call in person. Should a party wish to participate in the first hearing by electronic means, they will be required to give notice to the Sheriff Clerk no later than 5 working days prior to the hearing.

Further child welfare hearings will be conducted in person unless otherwise directed by the Sheriff. However, parties will be able to make representations at the first child welfare hearing, should they feel further hearings should not be heard in-person.

The mode for any further child welfare hearings where actions commenced before 13 July 2022, will be discussed with all parties.

This is the second guidance which will apply to all Sheriffdoms, in order to achieve consistency of approach. It follows the housing guidance which was published on Monday. They will both take affect from today.  (Wednesday 13 July)

The child welfare hearing guidance is available to view here

A Child Welfare hearing is called when a party seeks an order in terms of section 11 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. Child Welfare Hearings are usually held in private with both parties being present. They are intended to allow the sheriff to speak to the parties directly, identify the issues and establish how the issues are to be dealt with. Child Welfare Hearings are generally informal procedures.