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The Children's Panel - life changing

Preparing for my hearing

If you haven’t been to a children’s hearing before, you might have some questions about what will happen at the hearing and you might be worried. Try not to worry, the people at the hearing are there to help you.

There are some questions and answers below which might help you to find out more before your hearing. We try to use language that is not complicated to help you understand, but we also have a Jargon Buster which might help.

What information will I receive before the hearing?

If you have been asked to go to a children’s hearing, you will get a letter from the Children's Reporter to tell you when and where it is. This will be posted to the place where you are staying a few days before your hearing.

Normally children over the age of 12 years receive the same reports as the panel members and your parents or carers. Sometimes younger children may also receive the reports, either if they ask to see them or if an adult feels that they should see them.

All About Me

With this letter you will receive a paper copy of a form called All About Me. You can use this form to say how you are feeling, if you are happy with school and where you are staying or if you have any problems. When you have filled in your All About Me form, you can give it to a parent, carer or social worker to send to the Children’s Reporter who has written to you about your children’s hearing.

If you would rather fill it in online and email it, just click on this link 'All about me' form. Type in your details carefully. Please make sure you include your name, date of birth and the date and the place of your hearing. Then click 'submit by email'.

Once the Children’s Reporter has received your form they will send it to the panel members who you will see at your hearing, and to the relevant persons (such as your parent or your carer).

Remember, you will of course get the chance to speak at your hearing. The panel members will want to hear from you about how you are and how you are feeling. They might ask you about home and school as well. Remember, it’s your hearing – it’s all about you! 

Do I have to go to the children’s hearing?

Yes, unless the Children’s Reporter has told you that you do not have to go. The children’s hearing is about you.  It is important that you are there to let the people at the children’s hearing know what you think. 

Where will the children’s hearing be held?

Children’s hearings can be in different kinds of buildings. Usually there is a waiting room and you can bring a game or a book to use when you are in the waiting room. Then the Children’s Reporter will take you and your parents or carers into the children’s hearing room to meet the panel members. 

Who can I talk to before my hearing?

The Children’s Hearings System is a legal system, so it is important that you understand what is going on. If you have any questions before you attend a hearing, there are lots of different people you could talk to for example, the Children’s Reporter whose details will be on the letter you have received about the hearing, your social worker or your teacher.

If you just want to have a chat with someone, try talking to your parents or carers or other young people who are in a similar situation to you.

If you are eleven years or over, you could also call the Young Scot InfoLine on 0808 801 0338, where you can speak to someone who can give you information about children’s hearings, although they won’t be able to talk to you about your individual situation.

If you want to know about the Children’s Hearings System, visit www.scra.gov.uk or www.youngscot.org.

The Scottish Child Law Centre provides free legal advice for under 18s, please call 0800 328 8970.

Children and young people can also speak to someone in confidence by calling ChildLine on 0800 1111.

Would you like a Pre-Hearing visit?

Some young people find it helpful if they know what to expect and have visited the building where the children’s hearing is to be held, before the day of their hearing. If you would like to visit the hearing room before your hearing you can ask the Reporter whose name and telephone number are on the letter you have been sent. This is called a Pre-Hearing visit. You will be shown around the waiting rooms and hearing rooms, and have the chance to ask any questions about what will happen on the day.

What is a pre-hearing panel?

A pre-hearing panel is a meeting which takes place before your children’s hearing to make some decisions about your hearing. You, your parent and maybe your carer can go to the pre-hearing panel but you do not have to go if you do not want to.  The letter you have received from the Children’s Reporter will tell you where and when the pre-hearing panel is taking place.