Private children proceedings in Scotland
Produced in partnership with Karen Gibbons of Harper Macleod LLP
Private children proceedings in Scotland

The following Family guidance note Produced in partnership with Karen Gibbons of Harper Macleod LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Private children proceedings in Scotland
  • Parental responsibilities and rights
  • Guardianship
  • Court orders relating to children
  • Jurisdiction
  • Procedure
  • Children’s views and safeguarding
  • Pending reform and consultations

This Practice Note provides an introduction to private children proceedings in Scotland, including as to parental responsibilities and rights and how they may be acquired, the appointment of a guardian, orders that may be made by the court under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (C(S)A 1995) and matters the court must have regard to. It also considers the jurisdiction of the Scottish courts in private children proceedings and procedure in both the sheriff court and the Court of Session.

While the principles behind decision making are similar between the systems in Scotland and in England and Wales, for example the welfare principle and the minimum intervention (no order) principle, it is important to be aware that the systems—particularly procedurally—are different. For example, there is no Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) in Scotland.

For practical guidance on divorce and dissolution in Scotland, see Practice Notes: Scotland—divorce and civil partnership dissolution and Scotland—divorce and civil partnership dissolution—glossary.

See also Practice Notes: Financial provision for spouses and civil partners in Scotland and Cohabitant claims in Scotland.

Parental responsibilities and rights

C(S)A 1995, ss 1 and 2 set down the parental responsibilities and parental rights enjoyed by parents in respect of children, ie:

Parental responsibilities

A parent has in relation to their child the responsibility to:

  1. safeguard and promote the child’s health, development and