Children’s Hearings Reforms Criticised

Morag Driscoll, director of the Scottish Child Law Centre has slated plans to “streamline” the children’s hearings system. The Herald reports her concerns that amalgamating reporters, safeguarders and panel members is to undermine “essential legal distance”.

She is quoted as saying:
“We would never do this in an adult system of justice – it would be regarded as unacceptable. The equivalent would be amalgamating a district court with the procurator fiscal and the social workers who provide the reports.”

“The safeguarder is often the only person putting the child’s view, .. That is often a child whose life experience has been being let down by every adult in sight. They don’t trust easily. Under these plans safeguarders won’t be independent and they must be. I think many safeguarders would flatly refuse to do it.”

“We have a unique system. It is not perfect but it is a darn sight better then what happens in many other areas and we jeopardise it at our peril. Would you ever do this in adult system of justice? Why are children always getting the cheap end of the stick?”

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