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Jargon Buster

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Some of the words that are used a lot in the Children's Hearings System can be quite complicated and difficult to understand. Below is an explanation of what some of these words mean. You can either scroll down the page or click on the letter to read the explanations.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

If you still don't understand something ask the Children's Reporter or your social worker if you have one.

A

Appeal
If a child or their parent/guardian does not agree with the decision made by the people at the Hearing they can go to court to appeal the decision. An appeal cannot be made just because they disagree with the decision. There has to be a reason in law for the basis of any appeal. If you disagree with the decision of a Hearing, you should speak to a solicitor (lawyer) as soon as possible, because you may have the right to appeal.

If you do appeal. this means a Sheriff will look at the decision made by the Hearing again to see if they agree with it. An appeal must be made within 21 days of the date of the Hearing. If you are not sure how to appeal, you should speak to the Children’s Reporter who wrote to you about your Hearing.

Authorise
You might hear this word used in your Hearing or see it in your letter from the Reporter. This means to give permission or allow something.


C

Children’s Hearing
This is a legal meeting (sometime just called a Hearing), that children and young people are sometimes asked to go to with their families or carers to help them sort out their problems.

Children’s Hearings System
The Children’s Hearings System deals with children and young people in Scotland under the age of eighteen who are in need of help. There are two main reasons why the Children’s Hearings System will help a child or young person:

 1) Because they are in need of care and protection.

 2) Because they have got into trouble with the police.

Children’s Panel
This is the name given to the three Panel Members who are at every Hearing, they make the decisions about what should be done to help the child or young person at a Hearing. Sometimes the words ‘Children’s Panel’ are used instead of ‘Hearing’, so you might hear somebody say ‘I’m going to the Children’s Panel’ which means the same as ‘I’m going to a Hearing’.

Children’s Reporter
This is the person (sometimes just called a Reporter) who decides whether or not a child or young person, who has been referred to SCRA, should attend a Hearing.

Child Protection Order
This is an emergency measure which aims to protect children and young people who are at risk of significant harm. The child protection order is made by the Sheriff Court.

Comply
You might hear this word used in your Hearing or see it in your letter from the Reporter. This means to follow an order, request or set of rules.

Compulsory
You might hear this word used in your Hearing or see it in your letter from the Reporter. It means you must do what it says.

Compulsory Supervision Order
A Compulsory Supervision Order is a legal document which means that the local authority is responsible for looking after and helping a child. It might say where the child must live or other conditions which must be followed.

Contact Direction Review Hearing
This is a new type of Hearing looking only at the contact between a child or young person, and another person in their life. The Reporter will tell you if one has been arranged for you and what this means.


Court
(Usually a Sheriff Court) is a building where legal matters/cases are dealt with. Most towns and cities have a Sheriff Court. Sometimes in the Children’s Hearings System you have to go to court if the statement of grounds are not accepted or there is an appeal against a decision made at a Children’s Hearing.

Curator ad Litem
Curators ad Litem are legal representatives, usually solicitors, (lawyers), who are appointed when a court believes a person is unable to make decisions for themselves. The curator ad litem represents the person in court, making decisions in the person's interests.

 

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D

Deemed Relevant Person

A Pre Hearing Panel can decide that someone should be treated as a Relevant Person because they have or recently have had, significant involvement in a child or young person's upbringing. This is called "deeming" someone to be a Relevant Person. Someone with deemed Relevant Person status can have this reviewed at a later date if they no longer have significant involvement with the child or young person.

Defer a Hearing
This means that the Panel Members are unable to make a decision about the future of the young person on the day of the Hearing. This may be because they would like some more information about the young person before they make a decision, so the Hearing is stopped (deferred) to wait for that information and it will be re-arranged for another day.

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G

Guardian
This is a person who looks after a child or young person, but who is not their mum or dad or a relative.

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I

Interim Compulsory Supervision Order

An Interim Compulsory Supervision Order (ICSO) is a temporary order that the panel members can make if they are unable to make a final decision but have concerns about a child/young person.  It might say where the child/young person must live or other conditions which must be followed.  This only lasts for a short time before needing to be renewed.

L

Lawyer
(Sometimes known as a solicitor) is a legally trained person who can offer legal advice and assistance to young people and/or their carers and speak for them in court or Children’s Hearings.

Legal Aid
This is when the government pays for help from a lawyer (a solicitor). This can be for advice about going to a Children's Hearing, or to accompany you to a Hearing or to Court to speak for you. There is more information about legal aid and when you can get it at www.slab.org.uk, or you can call the Scottish Legal Aid Board on 0845 122 8686.

Local authority
Each area in Scotland is run by a council, these areas are known as local authorities. Social workers and teachers work for the local authority.

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P

Panel Members
A person from your local community who volunteers to sit on a Children’s Hearing. Panel Members are normal people - they might be a plumber or a shop assistant. Lots of them have their own children and grandchildren. All Panel Members are given special training so that they can make decisions to help the children and young people who come to a Hearing. There are three Panel Members at every Hearing and one of them will lead the Hearing – they are also known as the Panel Chair or Chair Person.

Pre Hearing Panel
This may be arranged when the Reporter decides to arrange a Children's Hearing. Children and young people, as well as their parents or carers can attend Pre Hearing Panels if they wish, but do not have to. A Pre Hearing Panel takes place before a Hearing and three Panel Members meet to consider any special arrangements needed for the hearing. They might talk about whether a young person or Relevant Person is required to attend a Children's Hearing; whether someone must be told about the Children's Hearing because they are a Relevant Person, or whether someone should be treated as a relevant person because of their involvement in a child's upbringing. After the Pre Hearing Panel the Reporter will write to you to tell you what has been decided.

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R

Referral
A referral is when information about a child or young person is sent by the police, social work department or a school to the Children's Reporter, because they think that the child or young person needs help to sort out some of the problems in their life.

Relevant Person
This is someone who has the right to attend a Hearing and get information about it. A Relevant Person can be the young person’s mum or dad, grandmother or grandfather, their carer, their guardian or the person who looks after them.

Remitting the grounds for proof
If the young person or their family does not agree with the reasons why they have been asked to go to a Hearing, or if the child is too young to understand, then the Hearing cannot take place. This means that information about that child or young person will be sent (which is called remitted) to a court for the Sheriff to decide (this is a proof) if they should be going to a Hearing for the reasons given (which are called the statement of grounds).

Reporter
This is the person (also known as the Children's Reporter) who decides whether or not a child or young person who has been referred to SCRA, should attend a Hearing.

Residential Care
Sometimes a child or young person may need to go and live in a safe place somewhere else if they cannot live with their own family. This is called being in Residential Care (sometimes called a children’s home). This means that they would go and live for a while in a place with adults who will help them to learn, where they can get food, a bed to sleep in and somewhere safe to play.
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S

Safeguarder
A Safeguarder is a person who is appointed to make sure that a young person’s interests are looked after. A Safeguarder can be appointed by either a Children’s Hearing or a Sheriff. Not all children and young people need to have a Safeguarder.

Sometimes if the people at a Hearing have very different views to each other, or the Panel Members feel they need more information to allow them time to make a decision, they will appoint a Safeguarder. A Safeguarder is separate from the social worker, Children’s Reporter and the Panel Members and would speak to everyone involved especially the young person, to help them build up a better picture. Sometimes they will write a report for the Panel Members and attend the next Hearing.

Scottish Legal Aid Board
The Scottish Legal Aid Board decides whether people should get legal aid - this is when the government pays for help from a lawyer (a solicitor). This can be for advice about going to a Hearing, or to accompany you to a Hearing or Court to speak for you. There is more information about legal aid and when you can get it at www.slab.org.uk and there is also a special booklet available for children and young people.

SCRA
The Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) is the body which looks after the Children’s Reporters, who are the people who investigate if a child or young person needs to come to a Hearing, and they also organise the Hearing and provide the buildings in which the Hearings are held.

Secure Authorisation
A Children’s Hearing can make a Secure Authorisation as a condition of a Compulsory Supervision Order. This would be when they think that the young person should be in a place that they can not leave. This may be because:
  • The young person has run away from home quite a lot and there is a risk that they will do it again, and
  • If they do it again then they will be in danger, or could hurt themselves or someone else.

Sheriff
The Sheriff is a legally trained person in charge of the court.  Their job is to make sure that everything is done fairly and that court rules are followed.  The Sheriff will make the final decision about what should happen next with the statement of grounds and/or appeal.

Social worker
This is someone who works for the local authority who may visit children and young people and their families to help them with problems they have. If a social worker is really worried about a child or young person they can refer them to the Children’s Reporter.

Solicitor
(Sometimes known as a Lawyer) is a legally trained person who can offer legal advice and assistance to young people and/or their carers and speak for them in court or Children’s Hearings.

Statement of Grounds
There are lots of different reasons why a young person might be referred – these are known as the ‘statement of grounds’. These are:

  • If they are have not been going to school,
  • If they have been in trouble with the police,
  • If they have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs,
  • If their behaviour has been causing concern at home, school or in the community,
  • If someone is worried that they are not being cared for properly by their parents or carers,
  • If an adult has hurt them or someone in their family in some way.

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