Report of the expert committee on how to deal with children in trouble which influenced the establishment of the Children's Hearings system


Children and Young Persons, Scotland

Secretary of State for Scotland



1. We were appointed by your predecessor, the Rt. Hon. John S. Maclay, C.H., C.M.G., M.P., on 29th May, 1961, with the following remit:

"to consider the provisions of the law of Scotland relating to the treatment of juvenile delinquents and juveniles in need of care or protection or beyond parental control and, in particular, the constitution, powers and procedure of the courts dealing with such juveniles, and to report."

We now submit our report. Our remit covered a wide field, but our task has been appreciably lightened by the separate inquiries into specific subjects, already carried out under the auspices of your Advisory Councils on the Treatment of Offenders and on Child Care, and extending to the custodial treatment of young offenders, borstal training, remand homes, and the prevention of neglect of children in their own homes. Many of the Councils' recommendations have already been given effect in the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act, and the Children and Young Persons Act, 1963.


2. At the outset we extended a general invitation by way of press notice to submit written evidence and in addition sent invitations to a number of persons and organisations to do so. As a result, we received a considerable number of written statements and we later heard oral evidence on I 5 days from persons giving evidence either in a personal capacity or as representing various organisations. A list of the witnesses is set out in Appendix E. We were also assisted by several factual memoranda from the Scottish Home and Health Department and the Scottish Education Department.

3. We have met on 29 days. In addition, we have, either individually or in groups, visited a substantial number of juvenile courts as well as a variety of residential institutions (including several in England) to which children are committed by the juvenile Courts. We are indebted to the Norwegian Ministry of Social Affairs, the Director of the Danish Institute, Edinburgh, and Dr. Ola Nyquist (Assistant Professor of Criminal Policy, University of Uppsala), for information and assistance bearing on the Scandinavian systems of child welfare committees or boards; and to Mr. John Mack, Director of Social Study, Glasgow University, for information derived from his research studies on police juvenile liaison schemes. We should like to record our thanks to all those who have helped LIS by the submission of views and information, orally or in writing.

4. We desire to express our sincere gratitude for the admirable work done by Mr. A. T. F. Ogilvie, our Secretary. He was a mine of accurate information, presented always with a freshness of outlook and a breadth of vision which were of the greatest possible assistance to us. We also wish to thank Mr. R. J. Edie, our Assistant Secretary, whose knowledge of various fields of work within the sphere of the Scottish Education Department was invaluable, as also was his help in recording our proceedings and especially the oral evidence.

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