BATHGATE OFFICE: 01506 656 820
1 Bloomfield Place, Bathgate, West Lothian, EH48 1PB
Office open Monday - Friday: 09:00 - 17:00
Children can be referred to a Children’s Panel Hearing for a variety of reasons.
Usually referrals are made by the police or social work department where a child (a) has committed a criminal offence; or (b) is not being looked after properly by his or her parents.
Bathgate Family Law Practice does not deal with referrals based upon criminal offences committed by children, but we should be able to assist with any other type of referral. Unfortunately, Legal Aid is not available for solicitors to attend Children’s Panel Hearings but we can represent you if the case has to be remitted, for any reason, to the Sheriff Court.
Before the Children’s Panel can make a decision about whether or not a child is in need of compulsory measures of care, the Grounds of Referral have to be established. If one or both of a child’s parents do not accept the Grounds of Referral, the case has to be sent to the Sheriff Court for the Sheriff to hear evidence. It is normal at this stage for the parents to be legally represented and this is something which we could do for you.
If the Grounds of Referral are established, the Children’s Panel has to decide what needs to be done to protect the child from further harm or neglect. Sometimes, the Panel makes an order requiring the child to live with foster carers or other relatives. In less serious cases, the child can continue to live with his or her parents but under the careful supervision of a social worker. If you are unhappy with a decision made by the Children’s Panel, you should arrange an appointment to see us straightaway to discuss the possibility of an Appeal to the Sheriff Court. Appeals have to be lodged within three weeks of the date of the Panel hearing.
If you need legal representation in a children's hearing,
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