1. Purpose and intended effect
Title of Proposal
Children (Scotland) Bill
1.1 The Children (Scotland) Bill (the Bill) resulted from a consultation on the Review of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 which is the key legislation in relation to parental responsibilities and rights and cases on where a child should live and who should see the child after the parents split up (contact and residence cases).
1.2 Primary legislation is only part of the action necessary to improve the operation of family justice. A Family Justice Modernisation Strategy (FJMS) was published when the Bill was introduced. This sets out work that is ongoing by the Scottish Government and others; work that can be done via secondary legislation or by improved guidance; areas covered by the Bill; and areas that are for longer term work. The FJMS is not considered as part of this BRIA.
1.3 The key policy aims of the Bill are to:
- Ensure that the child’s best interests are at the centre of any contact and residence case or Children’s Hearing;
- Ensure that the views of the child are heard;
- Ensure further compliance with the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC); and
- Further protect victims of domestic abuse and their children.
- Rationale for Government intervention
1.4 The Bill contributes to the following National Outcome:
- We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential.
1.5 The Bill aims to help meet this National Outcome by ensuring our children grow up in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding and that children are not left worried or isolated. The effect of the Bill will be to further protect children and young people who are the subject of a contact or residence dispute. In addition, the Bill includes provisions ensuring the views of children are heard in contact and residence cases.