Why do I have to go to court
Sometimes at a Children’s Hearing, the statement of grounds (the reason for a child/young person being at a Hearing) are read out and children/young people and their parents/carers, have to say whether they think the reasons are correct or not. This is usually at their first Hearing.
If they do not agree with the reasons for the Hearing, or if they are unable to understand the statement of grounds, a final decision cannot be made and the case may be sent to a Sheriff Court so that a Sheriff can decide if the statement of grounds are correct or not.
You may be called as a witness if your evidence (what you would say in court) is key to matters which are disputed (challenged).
If you are required to attend court you will receive a formal letter called a citation. This tells you the date and time you must attend court. You must attend court on the date shown. If you are unable to attend you need to contact the person who sent you the letter as soon as possible.
The Children’s Reporter usually relies on background reports and statements to prepare the case but sometimes they may want to meet with you either for precognition (to take a statement from you) or for general preparation. There may be other lawyers who wish to speak to you, either on behalf of the person involved in the case or for another person involved in the case. This is a normal part of the preparation of a court case.
You can decide when you meet with lawyers. If you have any questions about these meetings, you should contact the Reporter.
Sometimes agreement can be reached between the Reporter and the lawyers who represent the child/young person, parent/carers which means that you may not have to give evidence.
If agreement cannot be reached, the Sheriff will hear from witnesses to help them decide if there is sufficient evidence to find the statement of grounds established.
If you want more detail about the timescales for Children’s Hearings Court Proceedings click here.