SCRA response to opinion
The Inner House of the Court of Session decided that the current opportunities for siblings to be involved in the decision making by Children’s Hearings about their brothers or sisters are compatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In two separate cases where a sibling wanted to have full involvement in the Children’s Hearing as a ‘relevant person’, the court decided that the sibling did not require the procedural protection of being a relevant person.
However the court made clear that the statutory provisions require to be operated by Reporters and the chairs of Hearings in a manner which is consistent with the rules of natural justice, and a Hearing considering contact should be mindful of a sibling’s interest in the matter and the need to take it into account.
A spokesperson for SCRA said: “These are important judgments today for the Children’s Hearings System. They reflect that siblings can have interests that require to be taken into account, but that the means to provide siblings with appropriate involvement in decision making already exist.
“We will work to ensure that Reporters always deliver best practice in relation to appropriate involvement by siblings within the Children’s Hearings System.”
You can view the opinion here.