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Bills and Laws

Children (Care and Justice) (Scotland) Bill

The Bill makes changes to the law in relation to the care of children and the involvement of children in the criminal justice system.

The changes relate to the children’s hearings system and several parts of the criminal justice system. This includes courts that hear cases relating to children and the places where children can be detained.

The Bill is at Stage 3



The Bill has four main parts.

The first part changes the definition of “child” in the children’s hearings system from someone under 16 to someone under 18. This part makes some other changes which include offering more guidance for children who turn 18.

The second part makes changes to criminal procedure in relation to children, including the kind of accommodation and safeguarding that is used. This includes stopping children under 18 from going to a young offenders institution (YOI) or prison. It adds restrictions on what information can be reported about a child suspected of a crime. It also makes changes to court and custody arrangements for children.

The third part of the Bill makes changes relating to the regulation of secure accommodation and how it is used. It also alters regulatory requirements around Scottish care placements for children from other parts of the UK.

The fourth part of the Bill is about antisocial behaviour orders, named persons and child’s plans.

Why the Bill was created

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC) says that all people under age 18 are children. The Promise advocated maximising use of the children’s hearings system and ending the detention of children in YOIs. The Scottish Government thinks that children should have age-appropriate support, different to that of adults, when they are in the care and justice system. This Bill was introduced by the Scottish Government to promote those aims.