Working together to ensure that children and young people in conflict with the law have their rights respected.
We have received funding from The Promise Partnership from April 2023 – March 2025 to address the unmet legal needs we identified. The aim of the Rights In Justice project is:
- To ensure that children and young people in conflict with the law have their rights respected.
- To ensure that children and young people access to legal support where public authorities fail in their duties to them.
This work builds on the findings of the scoping study on the legal needs of children and young people in conflict with the law which involved engaging with children, young people and professionals.
You can read the Young Person’s version of the scoping study here.
For an overview, Project Manager Claire Lighthowler has provided a short video presentation which can be viewed here – Clan Childlaw – Introducting-Rights-In-Justice
Unmet legal needs
In 2022 Clan Childlaw conducted a scoping study to better understand the legal needs of children and young people in conflict with the law. We found that:
- A lack of access to legal advice resulting in a lack of effective participation and understanding of decisions has long lasting effects into adulthood for many children and young people in conflict with the law.
- Access to education, housing, benefits and entitlements were seen as key issues where YP felt their rights were not upheld. There was also a lack of awareness of challenging decisions about these issues.
- There were critical moments when not receiving legal support had major consequences for children and young people’s lives. These critical moments might be different for each child or young person, depending on their specific needs and experiences, but commonly mentioned ones were:
- before and during police contact
- when a decision is being made about whether an offence will be referred to the procurator fiscal, meaning it could be dealt with by the courts rather than a Children’s Hearing.
- before, during and after a Children’s Hearing
- when considering accepting offence grounds at a Children’s Hearing
- when considering termination of a Compulsory Supervision Order
- before, during and after court appearances
- when in secure care
- when in a Young Offenders Institution (YOI)
- when navigating issues about disclosure of criminal records
How we can help
As part of this project, we have a particular interest in exploring how we can help and support children and young people in conflict with the law who;
- Have been served with Offence Grounds at Childrens Hearing and are being asked to accept or deny them.
- Have been charged by the police and their case has been jointly referred to the Childrens Reporter and the Procurator Fiscal.
We are solicitors who provide free legal advice and representation for children and young people both in the courts and at children’s hearings.
We also offer information on our enquiry line about child law to children and young people throughout Scotland and to professionals working with children and young people.
We can help all children and young people access their rights, and help them navigate the moments in their lives when ensuring their rights and entitlements are upheld, and decision challenged when they are not, is critical. Where we can’t help we will be able to signpost to those that can.
Phone 0808 129 0522
Text 075 475 66682