Report critically analyses Children (Scotland) Bill 2019
A new report produced for the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee critically analyses the Children (Scotland) Bill 2019.
The report, written by Dr Lesley-Anne Barnes Macfarlane of Edinburgh Napier University, outlines the extent to which the proposed legislation, which is currently at stage one, is likely to alter the balance of rights in family law court cases.
The focus of the report is those sections that have raised, or may raise, issues in terms of children’s and/or parents’ rights, and key areas covered in the 2018 Scottish government review of part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and the Family Justice Modernisation Strategy.
Thereafter, consideration is given to those proposals contained in the Children (Scotland) Bill 2019 relating primarily to part 1 of the 1995 act. The report evaluates the consequences that the provisions of the bill may have upon the rights of children and their parents.
It considers the various proposals in detail, including:
- Removal of the presumption that children 12 years of age and older are sufficiently mature to express a view in family cases
- New duty to explain court decisions to children
- New Statutory checklist of factors courts must take into account in family cases
- Creation of additional safeguards for vulnerable witnesses and parties in family cases
- Greater regulation of professionals and professional services involved in family cases
- New duty to investigate the failure to obey a court order.