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Children's Hearings and Referrals
Representing Relevant Persons and Young People

Championing Rights, Building Brighter Futures for Young People

Children's Panels


The Children’s Hearing system is intended to provide assistance to children and families in Scotland who require support. It is designed to be fairly informal. However, it does have significant legal consequences and we would therefore advise that you seek legal advice as early in the process as you are able to.

We are regularly instructed by parents, children and relevant persons to represent their interests in relation to all matters arising from the referral process. We can advise you in regards to the Grounds for Referral, Compulsory Supervision Orders, Child Protection Orders, Appealing Hearing Decisions and all associated Court Hearings.

Children's Referrals

We are regularly instructed by parents, children and "relevant persons" in respect of Children’s Referral Hearings which are heard at the Sheriff Court.

These hearings are fixed after a parent or child has not accepted the "statement of facts" that were at issue at the Children’s Panel hearing. When such grounds are denied the Children’s Panel refers the matter to the Sheriff Court for a Sheriff to hear evidence. The Sheriff has to decide "on the balance of probabilities" if the grounds have been established. If the Sheriff makes such a finding the matter is then referred back to the Children’s Panel system. Legal advice is essential in such matters.

Representing Young People 

We deliver free, confidential legal advice and representation in Ayrshire, Glasgow and across the central belt. We help children and young people up to the age of 18, or 21 if they have been Looked After.

We are experienced child lawyers who only represent young people. We can meet you at a time and place that is good for you, where you feel comfortable.

We provide free information and guidance about children's rights and the law to family members, carers and adults who work with children or young people in Scotland.

Child Protection Orders

A Child Protection Order is a court order granted by a Sheriff when it is believed a child is likely to be harmed or has suffered significant harm and needs to be immediately moved to keep them safe.

Any person can apply for a Child Protection Order if they believe a child is being ill-treated or neglected in a way which is causing significant harm or if they think a child may be at risk of significant harm and needs to be moved to prevent this risk. Usually it is the local Council that applies for an order.

The Sheriff will listen to those who have made the application to decide whether or not there are sufficient grounds to grant the order. The order will give authority for your child to be removed from home to a safe place, or prevent the removal of your child from a named ‘place of safety’, for example, a hospital or grandparent’s home.

The Sheriff can attach terms and conditions to the order to ensure the protection of your child, for example, a condition that they have no contact with a particular named person or that your child must have a health assessment.

You will be notified when a Child Protection Order is being sought. You should also seek legal advice. Legal Aid may be available. You also have the right to apply to the Sheriff to have the order recalled or varied.

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We have a long, proud history of working with clients to help them understand how the law affects them and their families. Our specialist solicitors are trained in advising on, and representing clients’ interests at hearings. We will work with you leading up to and during the hearing, ensuring that you are fully advised on what any decision will mean for you and your family. 

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