On the day of Court
Bring your citation (formal letter) to court and show it to the person at reception. You will be directed to a waiting room.
When you are waiting to go into court, you cannot discuss your evidence with any other witnesses in the case.
Unfortunately delays can happen and you may have to wait some time before you go into court. There are often places to get refreshments in the court building.
Sometimes the date may be postponed or you may need to come back to court on another day. This may be unavoidable and some delays cannot be predicted. The Reporter will try to keep you informed of changes when they can.
Who will be present in Court?
- The child/young person may be there if they are old enough.
- The parents/carers of the child/young person and anyone with relevant person status.
- The Sheriff – is an expert in the law and in charge of court proceedings. They will ensure everything is done fairly within the law and that court rules and legal procedures are followed.
- Children’s Reporter – presents the Children’s Hearing court case. They look after the child/young person’s interests but do not represent them.
- Lawyer – the child/young person and their parents/carers may have a lawyer to to represent them.
- Safeguarder – is a person who is appointed to make sure that a child/young person’s interests are looked after.
- Sheriff Clerk – is responsible for assisting the Sheriff and keeping the court papers and records.
- Court Officer – assists the court and lets the witnesses know when it is their turn to give evidence. They may also be asked to show a witness different pieces of evidence such as photographs and other items.
The court takes place in private – no members of the public are allowed in the court room for Children’s Hearings proceedings.
What happens in Court?
The Reporter, Lawyer(s) and Safeguarder will ask you questions so that you can tell the Sheriff what you know. You will firstly be asked questions from the person who cited you to attend court (this is usually the Reporter). This is called examination in chief. After this you will be asked questions from the other lawyers in the room, this is called cross examination.
The Sheriff will listen to the evidence of all the witnesses. If the Sheriff decides that there is sufficient evidence to find that the statement of grounds are correct, then the matter will be sent back to another Children’s Hearing who will then decide what would be the best way of giving the child/young person whatever help or support they think that they need. If the Sheriff decides there is insufficient evidence to find that the grounds are correct, then that would be the end of the matter and there won’t be another Children’s Hearing.
If you have any questions or anxieties about court, please contact the Children’s Reporter or the person who cited you to attend court.