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Entries in civil court reform (2)


New guide to Child Welfare Reports

FNF Scotland has just published a new guide to Child Welfare Reports.  This coincides with new court rules which introduce a range of changes to what were previously called Bar Reports.  The same lawyers (and some social workers) will undertake Child Welfare Reports in child contact cases, but there have been significant changes in procedures.

Sheriff and judges now have to specify within their interlocutors what they want the new Child Welfare Reporter to do. Reports have to be submitted no less than three working days before the court hearing at which they are to be considered. Printed guidance will be provided to reporters and to the parents who are subject to reports to explain their respective roles.  

Crucially, a new mandatory training programme will be developed covering specific topics which Child Welfare Reporters must be aware of.  The lawyers who carry out Child Welfare Reports will now have the chance to attend training which will cover a range of issues including parental alienation.

FNF Scotland welcomes these changes, although we are keen to hear from parents who may still have concerns with Child Welfare Reports in coming years and we will continue to suggest further changes to the way in which child contact disputes are resolved. 


Consultation on civil court reform

Changes to the way civil courts work in Scotland have been announced at the start of a consultation period on proposed legislation

The proposals provide the legal framework for implementing the majority of recommendations of the Scottish Civil Courts Review, led by Lord Gill.

The proposals discuss a redistribution of business from the Court of Session to the sheriff courts, creating a new lower tier of judiciary in the sheriff court called the summary sheriffs with jurisdiction in certain civil cases and summary criminal cases.

Other proposed measures include the creation of a new national sheriff appeal court and a new national specialist personal injury court.

FNF Scotland welcomes views from members about these changes, and will respond to the consultation. Our response will include suggestions about the importance of identifying high-conflict cases at an early stage, the need for Sheriffs to have a clear understanding of how such cases can be resolved, and the need to avoid delay in re-establishing contact with children when cases reach court and for contact orders to be enforced effectively.