Social Work and Child Protection
The Social Work department may find it necessary to become involved with a family and their care of a child; this can arise as a result of a variety of matters, including poor school attendance, concerns about general care of a child, allegations of abuse or even the child committing a crime. Regardless of the reason for their involvement or the extent of their involvement, it is important to seek legal advice about Social Work from the outset.
If social work have sufficient concern they will make a referral to the Scottish Children’s Reporter’s Administration and when this happens a children’s hearing may be arranged for parents, children and other relevant parties to attend and consider the concerns. Parents (and other relevant people) are allowed to have a solicitor represent their interests at these hearings and our experienced solicitors regularly attend these panels and represent our client’s interests, ensuring that they understand the process and that their voice is heard.
Further, if you are not happy with the decision of a children’s hearing (also known as a children’s panel), we can discuss this with you and look at the possibility of appealing the decision to the Sheriff court and let a Sheriff consider whether the decision was correct.
This area of law is governed by Children’s Hearing (Scotland) Act 2011 and our solicitors have a clear and practical understanding of this legislation, allowing us to advise you at every step of the Child Protection Process.
Referrals – Sheriff Court
On occasions when the social work allegations are disputed, the children’s hearing may refer the matter to the Sheriff Court in order for the Sheriff to determine whether the allegations are true or not. This involves a full, evidential hearing being assigned, known as a ‘proof’. It is very important in these circumstances that parties get legal representation, as it is likely that witnesses will be called and other form of evidence led. We can represent you, prepare your case, interview witnesses and investigate the circumstances of your case, as well as meeting with the Reporter to try and resolve your case and failing which represent you at the proof hearing.
It can be an emotional and intimidating experience having to go to court and it is our aim to assist and advise our client’s in an understanding and honest manner.
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