Who can apply
Applications are invited from individuals who have the approval of their law firm to apply for, and to take on, the role of the ChIRP.
All individual solicitors must be identified within the application form. A named contact in the law firm must also be provided who will be able to confirm the firm’s commitment to supporting individual professionals registering for the service.
Only applications that meet the eligibility criteria will be assessed for inclusion on the ChIRPs register.
The individual must be a solicitor enrolled in the roll of solicitors kept under section 7 of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 and will be drawn from the Children’s Legal Assistance Scheme which is maintained by the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
The Code of Practice for Child Interview Rights Practitioners (ChIRPs) details the 6 core competences which must be met. The Code of Practice will be published in full, expected on 11 June, and can be shared on request. Of this publication see the section named ‘ChIRP Competency Requirements’ for details of the 6 core competences.
ChIRP competency requirements
Potential ChIRPs’ suitability for the role will be determined by way of assurance of registration and practice of the competencies and guidance for the Children’s Legal Assistance Register, augmented by specific additional competencies.
A solicitor must notify the Scottish Government in advance or, which failing, within no more than twenty working days (or longer if special reason for exceeding twenty days can be shown) of any changes to information or documentation relevant to that solicitor’s registration.
A registered ChIRP shall at all times be in possession of a current valid practising certificate which does not have a restriction preventing the provision of children’s legal assistance.
A solicitor in registering certifies that (s)he complies with the terms of the Code of Practice for ChIRPs.
In addition to the registration requirements under the child’s legal assistance scheme, a solicitor applying for registration on the ChIRPs register will be required to demonstrate the following additional competences:
A good understanding and detailed knowledge of the provisions of the Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019 and associated regulations.
A good understanding of child protection practice and procedures and supports available under Early and Effective Intervention.
A good practical understanding of child development and the principles of communicating with children, and a trauma-informed approach.
A good understanding of the ethos behind the investigative interview and the potential additional consequences that could flow from it.
The appropriate skills and experience of working sensitively with children under 12, including experience of representing children and young people at children’s hearings and related court proceedings.
An understanding of children’s rights, particularly the rights of children who may be in need of special protective measures, or who come into conflict with the law.