Child Welfare Hearings should now be in court

New guidance on child welfare hearings covering all sheriff courts has been issued by the Sheriff Principals for the six Scottish sheriffdoms.

For all family cases which start on or after the 13th July 2022, the first child welfare hearing will be held in court rather than online or by teleconference.  For subsequent hearings and for cases cases which started before that date, child welfare hearings will now be conducted in person unless otherwise directed by the sheriff

These hearings should be attended by both parents and their lawyers, although parents can apply at least five days before the hearing to attend online or by phone.

In our response to the recent consultation on court hearings, we were strongly in favour of family court hearings being held in court with the parents attending in person.  We therefore welcome this guidance, and also the fact that the Sheriffs Principal are now issuing guidance across the whole country, rather than making separate statements for each of the six sheriffdoms.

For further details of what happens in child welfare hearings see our guide to Representing Yourself in a Scottish Family Court.