Changes to the Rules of Procedure in Children’s Hearings on giving siblings the opportunity to participate in Hearings will apply from 26 July 2021.

The changes will make sure that brothers and sisters can take part in decisions at Hearings that might affect them seeing each other. 

The new Rules set out the criteria for who can take part and how. A person will be able to take part if: 

(a) they are living or have lived with the child at the centre of the Hearing,

(b) they and the child have an ongoing relationship with the character of a relationship between siblings (whether or not they have a parent in common),

(c) the children’s hearing is likely to make a decision significantly affecting contact or the possibility of contact between the person and the child, and

(d) the person is capable of forming a view on the matter of contact between the individual and the child.

At the moment siblings can ask to take part in their brother or sister’s Hearing, but this doesn’t often happen. 

The changes to the Rules should ensure consistent application of sibling rights across all Hearings. 

These changes follow two Supreme Court cases last year (read more about the ABC and XY cases here) and new law on this issue in the Children (Scotland) Act 2020 (section 25). 

If you would like to hear more about the rule changes, Clan Childlaw is organising a lunchtime webinar on 19 April 2021. For more information, get in touch with janet.cormack@clanchildlaw.org.  

Read the new rules and the policy intention behind them here: 

The Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 (Rules of Procedure in Children’s Hearings) Amendment Rules 2021.

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