n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - State intervention and child protection measures in Scotland - lessons for South Africa

Volume 39, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



In terms of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, Scottish local authorities have certain duties in respect of children they are 'looking after'. First, certain children are looked after if local authorities are providing them with accommodation. This non-compulsory measure is designed for cases where parental care has failed, and there is no one else willing and able to look after the child. Secondly, children who are the subjects of supervision requirements are looked after by local authorities. Children in need of compulsory measures of supervision are dealt with by a lay tribunal known as a children's hearing. The children's hearing has to determine, with reference to certain specified grounds, whether compulsory measures of supervision may be necessary in respect of a child, and which measures are appropriate. Thirdly, children who are the subjects of 'parental responsibilities orders' are looked after by local authorities. In this instance, parental rights and responsibilities in respect of the child are transferred to the local authority, and the parent is barred from exercising any of these rights and responsibilities. The purpose of this transfer is a protective one. Scottish child protection measures are non-adversarial, involve the family, and are characterised by a high level of participation and representation for children. South African child law can benefit from similar lay tribunals, and a higher level of child participation, both of which have to a limited extent been achieved by the new Children's Act 38 of 2005.

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