ABC v PRINCIPAL REPORTER AND OTHERS [2018] CSOH 81 (Outer House of the Court of Session, 31 July 2018)

In one of the most significant cases in relation to care-experienced children for some time, the Court of Session found that a 14-year-old boy should now be able to apply to participate fully in his brother’s children’s hearing.

The court recognised the difficulty with the current test for who can participate as being too restrictive and has decided that words require to be read into the definition of relevant persons to make it compatible with Article 8 ECHR.

The boy wanted to have a say in decisions made about his brother at Children’s Hearings, but this was not possible due to the way the legislation was worded which made it difficult for siblings and others with established family life to participate fully. 

Lady Wise concluded that the current test for being able to participate in a children’s hearing, including obtaining copies of the papers and having a right to appeal, is not sufficient to allow those such as the petitioner to claim a right to participate.

This means that words require to be read into the definition to make sure that siblings like the petitioner are told about the children’s hearings and can take part in them. The case is to call again shortly to discuss the proposed wording.

The full judgment is available here.