Family Justice in Scotland: Next Steps for Reform

This event will provide an opportunity for delegates to scrutinise proposed reforms to Scotland's family law system.

Putting children at the heart of family law

The Scottish Government has announced it has plans to introduce a Family Law Bill in the coming parliamentary session following a recently completed consultation on a number of reforms.

Scottish Government proposals, which aim to put the interests of children at the heart of the family law system, are the most substantive reforms to this emotive and sensitive area of the justice sector for 20 years. As such, the changes will have a major impact for all those working in the sector.

Join us on 21 November for this timely opportunity to examine proposed reforms and shape the development of the Family Law Bill.

Key issues we'll address with you

  • Up-to-date briefing on the Scottish Government's proposed reforms and planned Family Law Bill
  • Share best practice on obtaining the views of children and young people 
  • Latest thinking on alternatives to court in family law disputes
  • Steps needed to maintain relations between children and key adults

Who should attend?

  • Lawyers interested in family law
  • Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service
  • Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
  • Children's Panel members
  • Local authorities - particularly social work contacts
  • IJBs
  • Child support and children's rights officers
  • Children's Hearings Scotland
  • Children's reporters
  • Faculty of Advocates
  • Organisations supporting parents, families and children


09:15 Registration and Refreshments

10:00 Welcome and Introduction by the Chair

Professor Kenneth Norrie, Professor of Law, University of Strathclyde

10:05 Session 1: Obtaining the Views of Children and Young People

10:05 Reform of Family Law

  • Recent consultation
  • Outcome of consultation
  • Next steps

Simon Stockwell, Head of Family Law, Scottish Government

10:25 Q&A

10:40 Power Up/Power Down: A Human Rights-based Approach to Hearing Children’s Voices

This interactive workshop will use children and young people’s views and recommendations from the Power Up/Power Down project to explore a human rights-based framework to children’s participation and best practice in listening to children’s views.

Roseanna MacDonald, Policy Worker (Children and Young People), Scottish Women's Aid

Megan Farr, Policy Officer, Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland

11:30 Refreshments and Networking

11:55 Session 2: Alternatives to Court

  • Examples of best practice in relation to alternatives to court such as dispute resolution, mediation and collaborative law
  • Key steps needed to ensure that these approaches are used appropriately and safely

11:55 Gillian Baker, Solicitor, Baker Gostelow Family Law and Women's Solicitor, Domestic Abuse Transitions Advice Project, Stirling

12:15  Improving Outcomes for Children and Families

  • Child focused family mediation in Scotland
  • Hearing children’s views in mediation
  • Improving outcomes for children through integrated, tailored support for families

Rosanne Cubitt, Head of Practice for Mediation, Relationships Scotland

12:35 Q&A

12:50 Lunch and Networking

13:40 Session 3: Maintaining Relations Between Children and Key Adults

  • Discussion on overcoming challenges related to a presumption of shared parenting
  • Latest thinking on maintaining contact between children and grandparents

13:40 Why Shared Care is Best for Children and How the Law Can Help

  • A presumption of shared care provides a better starting point for family court proceedings than the current situation
  • Although shared care is usually better for children, arguments can be presented why it is not appropriate
  • Children in sole care tend to have poorer outcomes than those cared for by both parents after separation

Ian Maxwell, National Manager, Families Need Fathers Scotland

14:00 The Needs of the Child and Legal Presumptions – Help or Headwind 

Morag Driscoll, Convener, Family Law Sub-Committee, Law Society of Scotland

14:20 The Challenges of Having a Legislative Presumption of Shared Parenting 

  • An examination of the status quo and the current overarching principles
  • What does 'shared parenting' mean
  • Potential challenges to changing the law to include a statutory presumption of shared parenting

Lynsey Brown, Solicitor, Harper McLeod LLP

14:55 Chair's Closing Remarks

Professor Kenneth Norrie, Professor of Law, University of Strathclyde

15:00 Close of Event

* Agenda subject to change


NASUWT, 35 Young Street N. Ln, Edinburgh EH2 4JD | Map


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Discounted rate: 1 place £145 + VATpp (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 + VATpp | 2+ places £195 + VATpp (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, housing associations, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 + VATpp | 2+ places £245 + VATpp (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635

21 November 2018


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