Emergency UK legislation

Coronavirus Act 2020 (in force since 25.3.20) 

Read more: Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) briefingScottish Human Rights Commission briefing

Latest Scottish health regulations based on the UK act: The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 7) Regulations 2020

Statutory Guidance issued by Scottish Ministers

Coronavirus (COVID 19): changes to social care assessments - Statutory guidance for local authorities on sections 16 and 17 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, 8th April 2020

Note: Section 16 amends local authorities' assessment duties under sections 23(3) (assessment of the needs of children affected by disability) and 29(5) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (assessment of aftercare needs of care experienced young people). They are now not obliged to carry out these assessments if it is not practical or it would cause unnecessary delay in the provision of support. However, the Act does not affect the duties on local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need under section 22 and to provide aftercare services under section 29 of the 1995 Act. Similarly, local authorities are not obliged to prepare a young carer statement under section 12 of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 if it is not practical or will cause unnecessary delay in the provision of support.

Emergency Scottish Parliament legislation

Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (in force from 7.4.20 until 30.9.20 initially, but can be extended - but not beyond 30.9.21)

Section 4 relates to Children and Vulnerable adults and introduces Schedule 3 which contains temporary changes to the law - changes affect: children’s hearings composition, attendance and timescales for reviews and appeals; timescales for child assessment and child protection orders, CSOs, ICSOs and secure accommodation; placement of looked after children (extension of timescales for emergency placements, review etc, flexibility for foster carers to look after additional children).  

Our blog explains changes to Children's Hearings based on Schedule 3. See also Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 – Guidance on looked-after children and children’s hearings provisions, 7th April 2020

Read more: Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICE) BriefingCoronavirus (Scotland) Bill: child rights and wellbeing impact assessment; Children and Young People Commissioner Scotland Parliamentary Briefing; Law Society of Scotland Briefing

Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020 - This Act makes changes to help public services continue during the coronavirus pandemic and provisions include changes to student tenancies and the criminal justice system and the introduction of a Coronavirus Carer's Allowance Supplement for carers aged 16 or over. Most measures in the Act will expire at the end of September 2020, but could be extended by up to year if Parliament approves this. Following pressure from CYPCS and others, the Parliament agreed to amend The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 to prevent the criminalisation of 16 and 17 year olds via Fixed Penalty Notices for breaching lockdown restrictions.

Secondary legislation 

The Education (Deemed Decisions) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 - amends the time period after which failure of the education authority to hold an appeal committee hearing becomes a deemed decision from one month to four months following Education authorities' concerns that they will not have the capacity to meet the statutory requirements of the school exclusions appeals process this year due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020 - amends the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) Order 2014 by extending its scope to include all homeless persons rather than particular types of household.

The Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020

The Education (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 - relates to education placing requests during Covid-19 - Child rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment here. Blog by Iain Nisbet here

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Modification) (No. 2) Revocation Order 2020 - revokes the legal duty for councils to almost double (from 600 to 1140 hours) provision of free early learning and childcare by 1st August 2020 

Go to Scottish Government Coronavirus Guidance 

This is intended as a guide to the law in Scotland as at July 2020 and not as an authoritative statement and interpretation of the law. If you have any questions or would like further information please call 0808 129 0522 or email info@clanchildlaw.org.