About the childrens hearings

Childrens hearings are responsible for dealing with children and young people in Scotland who are under 16, and in some cases under 18, who commit offences or who are in need of care and protection.

The Childrens Panel

The childrens panel is a group of people from the community who come from a wide range of backgrounds. Panel members are unpaid and give their services voluntarily, but are carefully selected and highly trained. They must be at least 18 years old but there is no upper age limit.

Every local authority has a children's panel, and panel members sit on hearings on a rota basis. A children's hearing has three panel members, of which there must be a mix of men and women. The hearing must decide whether compulsory measures of supervision are needed for the child and, if so, what they should be.

Who holds these meetings?

The childrens reporter is an official employed by the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration, the body responsible for running children's hearings across Scotland. The children's reporter organises the meeting and makes sure that the rules which cover hearings are followed. These rules are designed to ensure that a full and frank discussion takes place at the hearing.

There is a right of appeal against the hearing's decision - you may appeal to the Sheriff within a 21-day period. You should get legal advice about this. Children's hearings are often referred to as children's panels.

Who makes decisions at the hearing?

Decisions are made by the children's hearing, which comprises people who have volunteered because they have a special interest in children and young people. They are specially trained and there will always be 3 members present at every hearing. One always acts as the chairperson of the meeting.

For more information on children's hearings, please go to the Childrens Hearings Scotland website.