What Happens at a Children's Hearing?

A Children’s Hearing is a legal meeting for young people in need of help, support or protection.

Children’s Hearings are held in private, with a Children’s Reporter and three Panel Members, and you can bring your parent or carer with you.

Remember, the purpose of a children’s hearing is to make the right decision for you. 

Why would I have to go to a Children’s Hearing?

You’ll be asked to attend a Children’s Hearing if there concerns about your welfare or safety. Reasons could include:

  • Not going to school
  • Being in trouble with the police
  • Drinking alcohol or taking drugs
  • Behaving in a way that is concerning parents, carers or your school
  • Someone is worried that you’re not being cared for properly
  • Someone has hurt you our your family

The statement of grounds will explain the reason you’re being asked to go to the Hearing.

What happens at a Children’s Hearing?

The hearing usually takes about an hour. The Chair will read the Statement of Grounds and ask if you accept and understand them.  If you and your parents/carers accept the Statement of Grounds, there will be a a discussion about the best action to take. If you don’t agree with the statement of grounds, the panel may decide to take no further action, or they may refer the case on to the Sheriff court.

Find out more about Children’s Hearings.

What might be the outcome?

The three Panel Members will decide what action should be taken. They can decide:

  • To discharge the case. This might be because things have improved for the young person at home or school and the Panel Members don’t feel that the young person needs to come back to another Hearing.
  • That more information is needed to help them make a decision about what is best for the young person and the Hearing will continue at a later date.
  • That compulsory measures of supervision are needed to help the young person and a Compulsory Supervision Order is needed.

The Scottish Children’s Reporter Association (SCRA) have lots of info about what to expect from Children’s Hearings in their video.

Not sure what all the different terms mean? Check out the SCRA Jargon Buster and get loads more advice on what to expect from a Children’s Hearing.

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