The Family Justice Modernisation Strategy results from the consultation last year on potential changes to Part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (the 1995 Act) and related matters. Part 1 of the 1995 Act covers parental responsibilities and rights. It also covers contact and residence cases relating to children when parents are separated or are not together.
I would like to thank all the individuals and organisations, including many children and young people, who took time to respond to the consultation and to take part in events that we ran last summer. The information that we gathered has helped us develop our next steps.
The Children (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 2 September 2019. 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;
- further protect victims of domestic abuse and their children in family court proceedings; and
- ensure further compliance with the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
Primary legislation is only part of the work needed to improve the operation of family justice. The Family Justice Modernisation Strategy sets out:
- work that is ongoing by the Scottish Government and others;
- work that can be done through secondary legislation or by improved guidance;
- areas covered by the Bill; and
- areas that are for longer-term work.
I look forward to engaging with people, including children and young people, during the passage of the Children (Scotland) Bill and on the Family Justice Modernisation Strategy.
Minister for Community Safety