HELP SHAPE THE FUTURE OF FAMILY LAW IN SCOTLAND

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson is encouraging constituents to take part in a public consultation on the future shape of family law.

The interests of children will be at the heart of the family justice modernisation strategy proposed by the Scottish Government – and child-friendly questions have been produced, alongside the main survey, to get young people’s views.

The role of the courts in cases involving children of separated parents and the law around parental responsibilities and right will be considered as part of the consultation.

Among other issues, the public’s opinions are wanted on how courts obtain the views of a child in family cases; how children can maintain relationships with key adults in their lives; and alternatives to court, such as family mediation or other forms of dispute resolution.

The consultation will also ask for views about changes to the law to prevent direct cross-examination of victims of domestic abuse by their alleged abusers in child contact cases.

Mr Matheson said: “The Scottish Government is keen to explore ways to better support children during family law cases and the aim of our modernisation proposals is to prioritise their interests.

“We hope to get a wide range of responses and I encourage constituents – and young people and those with first-hand experience of family law in particular – to help us improve our family justice system.”

Give your views at https://consult.gov.scot/family-law/children-scotland-act or answer the child-friendly questions at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/reviewofchildrenscotlandact1995. The consultation is open until August 7.