Children’s Hearings and Referrals to the Sheriff Court

If you receive papers from the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) referring either you, your child, or a child with whom you have a close connection, it can be worrying and daunting.

We understand that there are a whole host of reasons why a referral may be made and we are here to help.

It is important that you take advice quickly so that you have representation secured for any hearings that are due to call. The hearing system is a quasi-tribunal setting and decisions which are made there are legally binding and could have a long term impact on your family situation.

When you receive papers, normally there will be dates fixed for a prehearing panel and a full hearing. At the full hearing, there will be 3 panel members and a children’s reporter who will be present. The three panel members make decisions in relation to the child who is the subject of the referral. Other parties will be present, including but not limited to the child’s school, social worker, parents, and if applicable kinship carer/foster carer/advocacy worker/health visitor. This is not a definitive list and will be specific to the child’s circumstances.

The case may be referred to the Sheriff Court if the grounds of referral are not accepted by all parties, or if the child is very young. We can also assist with this process as some cases may require to go to proof (an evidential hearing)

You can find more information at about the practicalities of attending a hearing.

Call our office for advice today if you have any queries at all in respect of the children’s hearing system or potential social work involvement with you or your children.

Please call us for further advice on 01383 431 101 or email

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