Emergency Protection of Children Where Child Protection Order Not Available

Orders of the Day — Children (Scotland) Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:45 pm on 1st May 1995.

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Amendment made: No. 46, in page 41, line 6, leave out 'grant' and insert 'making'.—[Lord James Douglas-Hamilton.]
Amendment proposed: No. 164, in page 41, line 8, leave out 'any such order' and insert 'it is probable that any such order, if made,'.—[Lord James Douglas-Hamilton.]

Photo of Mrs Maria Fyfe Mrs Maria Fyfe , Glasgow Maryhill

I would like to ask a question about amendment No. 166. Is training for justices of the peace envisaged and is it intended that an assessor will sit with a JP? The amendment was to be tabled, according to the Government in Committee, because there was supposed to be such a dearth of sheriffs. Yet we have heard since from people who are familiar with the role of sheriffs that there is clearly no need to bring in JPs at all and that sheriffs ought to be available in sufficient numbers to obviate the need for calling on JPs. When I was a councillor, I was also a justice of the peace. I knew nothing at all about such matters. I spent my time as a JP signing people's forms from pawnbrokers because they had lost their pawnbrokers' slips or signing applications for passports. That hardly seemed adequate training to take a decision on an issue like this.

Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace , Orkney and Shetland

I need to crave your indulgence, Madam Speaker, to some extent. I tabled an amendment which, because we are making such fast progress, I was unable to refer to. It related to the use of justices of the peace in areas where they do not sit in district courts. The amendment that I had tabled attempted to deal with that point and I hope that the Minister will explain how he will attempt to deal with it. In an earlier group of amendments, there was reference to justices of the peace not having training to deal with the very sensitive matters which such orders raise.

Photo of Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Lord James Douglas-Hamilton , Edinburgh West

Training will be provided for justices of the peace as the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe) requested. In relation to making justices of the peace available rather than sheriffs where sheriffs are not available, the amendment arose from representations from the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace). In the remoter islands of Scotland, there could be circumstances in which a sheriff might not be readily available in an emergency. The proposal relates not to circumstances in Glasgow or to centres of population, but to the remoter areas of Scotland. It is a safeguard which we think sensible to put in place.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 165, in page 41, line 1, leave from 'circumstances' to end of line 11 and insert 'for an application for such an order to be made to or for the sheriff to consider such an application'. No. 166, in page 41, line 12, at end insert— '(1A) Where on the application of a local authority a justice of the peace is satisfied—

  1. (a) both that the conditions laid down for the making of a child protection order in section 50(2) of this Act are satisfied and that it is probable that any such order, if made, would contain an authorisation in terms of paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection (4) of that section; but
  2. (b) that it is not practicable in the circumstances for an application for such an order to be made to the sheriff or for the sheriff to consider such an application,
he may grant an authorisation under this section.'. No. 47, in page 41, line 21, leave out 'if not implemented by the applicant,'. No. 48, in page 41, line 22, leave out 'granted' and insert— 'made, if within that time—
  1. (i) arrangements have not been made to prevent the child's removal from any place specified in the authorisation; or
  2. (ii) he has not been, or is not being, taken to a place of safety'.
No. 49, in page 41, line 23, leave out from 'where' to 'when' in line 25 and insert— 'such arrangements have been made or he has been so taken,'. No. 167, in page 41, line 33, leave out from 'him' to 'and' in line 34 and insert 'to make an application for such an order to the sheriff or for the sheriff to consider such an application;'. No. 50, in page 41, line 41, leave out from 'time' to end and insert 'when the child is so removed.'. No. 51, in page 42, line 1, after 'be' insert '— (a)' No. 52, in page 42, line 1, after 'safety' insert '; or (b) prevented from being removed from any place,'. No. 168, in page 42, line 3, after 'Or insert 'or (1A)'.

No. 53, in page 42, line 6, leave out subsection (8).— [Lord James Douglas-Hamilton.]