Concern expressed about logjam in the family courts

Shared Parenting Scotland has expressed concern that action is needed to prevent a logjam of family cases clogging up the Scottish courts once normal business resumes. We have written to the Lord President and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to urge that decisions about whether children should see one of their parents should have high priority.

We have various suggestions on how court decisions on child contact and residence could be speeded up, and also suggest the Scottish courts should consider using online hearings during the lockdown to try and avoid delays in current cases, including ongoing proofs.

Every week that Scottish family  courts are closed for everything but urgent child protection hearings there will be a build up of contact and residence cases that are not being heard.

In addition there will be contempt hearings brought by parents whose court-ordered contact has been stopped without good reason during the Coronavirus closedown.

“We know from our own helpline and from a survey that we have been conducting in partnership with our Welsh counterpart Both Parents Matter that although children are allowed to move between their parent’s homes, a significant number of parents are not letting this happen.” comments Ian Maxwell.

“Results so far show that 61% of separated parents have experienced reduced time or no contact at all with their children since the start of the lock down.   The proportion who are completely blocked from seeing their children has risen from 13% to 29%.  Even if there are good reasons why children have had to stop travelling between their parents, this should not stop them communicating by phone or online.”

Our survey on shared care during the pandemic is still open – use this link to take part.