Children's hearings training resource manual: volume 2

Volume 2 is a children's hearings handbook, focusing on the problems that some children face, the environment in which they live, their needs and their rights.

1 Introduction

The children's hearings system, Scotland's unique system of juvenile justice, commenced operating on 15 April 1971.

The system is centred on the welfare of the child. A fundamental principle is that the needs of the child should be the key test and that children who offend and children who are in need of care and protection should be dealt with in the same system. Cases relating to children who may require compulsory intervention are considered by an independent panel of trained lay people. The rights of parents and children are protected by the legal framework which provides for decisions relating to the child's welfare to be decided by the panel of lay people while disputed facts and appeals are dealt with by courts.

One of the strengths of the children's hearings system is that it has been able to adapt to changing social and political climates. The fundamental principles on which it is based have been maintained while account has been taken of international conventions on rights. These include the specific rights for children contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the general human rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.


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