Youth justice

Policy actions  4 of 4

Children's Hearings

Advocacy in the Children's Hearings System

We are strengthening rights within the Children's Hearings System by developing a specialist advocacy service for children and young people. 

This was introduced in Spring 2020 and is set out in section 122 of the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011.The national scheme was expanded on 26 July 2021 to provide brothers and sisters with greater opportunities to participate in their sibling's hearing

The Children’s Hearings Advocacy Expert Reference Group supports the design, delivery and implementation of this service.

We have allocated grant funding to deliver a sustainable model of advocacy to a selection of providers. We have also set up a dedicated website for children, young people and those supporting them. It advises about advocacy and how to obtain it for Children’s Hearings. The Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration also provides information about advocacy and Children’s Hearings.

An independent evaluation of the national scheme will be carried out in 2024 and concluded by the end of that year.


Children's Hearings and Sheriffs appoint Safeguarders where there is the need to safeguard the interests of the child involved.

The Safeguarder does an independent assessment of what is in the child's best interests and provides it to the Hearing or Court.

Children’s advocacy guidance

More information

If you would like more information about this policy area please contact us. 



Children's Hearings / Hearings Advocacy Team
Children’s Rights, Protection and Justice Division
Area 2C (South)
Victoria Quay

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