Policy actions  1 of 3

Reforming family justice

We are committed to improving how family justice works.

We have published a Children (Scotland) Bill and Family Justice Modernisation Strategy to update the law and ensure children's views are heard.

Children (Scotland) Bill

Our Children (Scotland) Bill, introduced to the Scottish Parliament in September 2019, proposed changes to the existing legislation covering the family justice system in areas such as:

  • regulation of child welfare reporters who may be appointed when a court has been asked to resolve a dispute between parents
  • encouraging the views of young children to be heard by decision makers
  • further protection for victims of domestic abuse and their children in family court proceedings
  • furthering compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in family court cases

We consulted on our proposals to review the Children's Act 1995 in 2018. This took into account the view of young people. We published an analysis of responses as well as a summary report.

Family Justice Modernisation Strategy

We published a Family Justice Modernisation Strategy at the same time as the Children (Scotland) Bill, as we recognise that legislation is only part of the action needed to improve the operation of family justice.

The Strategy sets out our wider work with others, and covers:

  • guidance on children attending court
  • work to ensure, where it is safe for the child and resident parent, that non-resident parents are involved in their child’s learning
  • longer term work in relation to allowing a child with capacity to apply to record a change of name
  • prioritisation of sibling relationships for children in care