Annex G: Partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment
Partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment
Title of Proposal
Review of Part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and creation of a Family Justice Modernisation Strategy.
1. Purpose and intended effect
1.1 The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (the 1995 Act) is centred on the needs of children and their families. The review is about reforms to part 1 of the 1995 Act which covers parental responsibilities and rights and about creating a Family Justice Modernisation Strategy. It also covers other matters relating to family law such as aspects of the Children’s Hearings System.
1.2 The main aims of the consultation are to:
1.4 A number of the options for amending the 1995 Act and creating a Family Justice Modernisation Strategy would require an Act of the Scottish Parliament.
1.5 The policy contributes to the following National Outcomes:
2.1 In preparing the consultation, the Scottish Government’s Family and Property Law Team have worked with:
Within Scottish Government
2.3 This partial BRIA forms part of a public consultation which will run for 12 weeks.
2.4 Scottish Government conducted interviews with representatives from the following organisations to prepare for the BRIA:
2.5 In addition, the Scottish Government interviewed some family law academics.
2.6 The notes of these meetings are being published at the link below:
3.1 This section focuses on the key options that are considered in the consultation. The consultation document itself lists all the options we are considering.
3.2 Option 1: How the court considers the views of the child and representation of the child
3.3 Option 2: How confidential information provided by a child is shared with the court
3.4 Option 3: Who a child should have contact with and how contact should happen
3.5 Option 4: Who is a parent
3.6 Option 5: What are Parental Responsibilities and Rights ( PRRs) and who should have them
3.7 Option 6: How international parental child abduction can be prevented
3.8 Option 7: How children and victims of domestic abuse can be protected
3.9 Option 8: How court procedure can be improved
3.10 Option 9: Alternatives to court
3.11 Option 10: Amendments to birth registrations
3.12 Option 11: Procedural changes to the Children’s Hearings System
Sectors and groups affected
3.14 We consider the following groups or sectors will be affected by the options being considered:
Give details of all benefits associated with each option you are considering.
31.15 The main benefits of all the options are:
3.16 This is a partial BRIA and further consideration will be given to the benefits of each option in the detailed BRIA which will accompany any Family Law Bill.
Give details of all costs (additional and savings) associated with each option you are considering.
3.17 We have estimated that if all the options were adopted it could cost approximately £0.5m in set up costs and approximately £5.3m in ongoing running costs. The largest costs are listed below:
3.18 The costs currently identified at 3.17 do not cover any increased costs to SCTS should certain options be taken forward.
4. Scottish Firms Impact Test
4.1 To appreciate the impact that the proposed legislation may have on businesses operating in Scotland, we met with organisations including CALM Scotland Mediation, the Faculty of Advocates, the Family Law Association, Law Society of Scotland, Relationships Scotland and Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.
4.2 All the organisations were asked questions on each of the topics in the consultation.
4.3 A number of family lawyers are also curators ad litem and child welfare reporters and therefore the options to regulate curators ad litem and child welfare reporters could impact on them.
4.4 Members of the Faculty of Advocates and Law Society of Scotland may be affected by a number of the options as any changes could affect the people that they would represent in court.
4.5 Options around mediation may affect family mediators and arbitrators.
4.6 The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service will be affected by a large number of the options as they concern how a court case is run.
4.7 Relationships Scotland and the four independent contact centres will be affected by the option to regulate contact centres.
5. Competition Assessment
5.1 We do not expect the options to have an impact on competition as they will not:
5.2 We would welcome any comments during the consultation as to whether any of the options would have an impact on competition.
6. Test run of business forms
6.1 We do not envisage that any new forms will be introduced for businesses by Scottish Government as a result of our policies.
7. Legal Aid Impact Test
7.1 The independent strategic review of legal aid  noted that in 2016/17 60% of the civil legal assistance budget goes on family cases (£18m). Of the £18m, £9m goes on legal aid for contact/parentage cases and £3.3m for cases regarding residence.
7.2 There could potentially be costs for the Scottish Legal Aid Board in relation to a number of the options. In particular:
7.3 Some of our policy options could lead to savings for the Scottish Legal Aid Board. In particular:
7.4 A number of the options that are being considered in the consultation document could have both positive and negative impacts on legal aid. For example, the options to give all fathers PRRs and making joint birth registration compulsory may lead to a reduction in the number of cases by fathers applying for PRRs. However, this could lead to an increase in cases by mothers applying to have a father’s PRRs removed.
8. Enforcement, sanctions and monitoring
8.1 Using detailed information provided by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service ( SCTS), we publish annual Civil Justice Statistics bulletins which includes specific information on family law cases. Working together with our key partners, we are committed, as part of the Family Justice Modernisation Strategy, to improve the quality of family law statistics in Scotland. This will help in relation to monitoring of the outcomes of the policy options.
8.2 This is a partial BRIA and further consideration of the enforcement, sanctions and monitoring of policy will be done in the detailed BRIA which will accompany any Family Law Bill.
9. Implementation and delivery plan
9.1 The consultation will influence our decisions about next steps and the content of any Family Law Bill, any other regulation or any non-legislative changes that can be made. This BRIA would be finalised for any Family Law Bill, taking account of points made by consultees. The final version of the BRIA would be published on the Scottish Government website.
9.2 Any Family Law Act would be reviewed in line with the usual approach to post-legislative scrutiny.
10. Summary and recommendation
10.1 We are seeking views on whether and how the 1995 Act should be amended and what should be in a Family Justice Modernisation Strategy. This section will be completed in the final BRIA when we have considered the responses from this consultation.
We have estimated that if all the options were adopted it could cost approximately £0.5m in set up costs and approximately £5.3m in ongoing running costs. The largest costs are listed below:
The costs currently identified above do not cover any increased costs to SCTS should certain options be adopted.
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback