“For rights to have meaning, effective remedies must be available to redress violations.”

Access to justice for children in Scotland

Julia Donnelly, Head of Representation, providing evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee on children’s hearings:

Legal Assistance for children and young people

From 31 January 2011 the way that a child is assessed for civil and children’s legal assistance was altered by the Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2010 and the Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2010. Previously, a child would be assessed in the same way as an adult, on the basis of their own personal disposable income and capital. Since January 2011, a solicitor assessing a child or young person who applies for any civil or children’s legal assistance must take into account the financial circumstances of anyone who owes a duty of aliment to that child or young person. This results in many children finding it impossible to access confidential and independent legal advice and representation.

We provided written and oral evidence to the Scottish Independent Strategic Review of Legal Aid. Our views were cited several times in the independent report published in February 2018. We continue to campaign for children to be able to access legal aid in a confidential and independent manner.

Read our full response to the Independent Strategic Review of Legal Aid’s call for evidence here.

Read the Scottish Government’s response to the Independent Strategic Review of Legal Aid here.