After section 17

Part of Family Law (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:15 pm on 15th December 2005.

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Photo of Ms Rosemary Byrne Ms Rosemary Byrne SSP 3:15 pm, 15th December 2005

First, I welcome the charter for grandchildren as a good move in the right direction. However, my reason for lodging amendment 41 is that there is no mention in the bill either of the charter or of the role of grandparents or other family members. Given that grandparents often play a tremendous role in children's lives and hold things together—for example, they provide child protection in circumstances of drug and alcohol misuse—it is surely time to ensure that they have some recognition. I do not ask that grandparents be given parental rights and responsibilities; I am just asking that they be given recognition.

Christine Grahame and others pointed out that the role of grandparents can be recognised by due process through the courts, but over the past two or three years I have spoken to many grandparents who have found the court process to be not only costly but, in some cases, extremely destructive and stressful. Amendment 41 provides another opportunity to recognise in the bill the role that grandparents play. As Phil Gallie said, grandparents are asking only for recognition of their role. I ask members to support amendment 41, which would provide that recognition.

It is interesting that many, although not all, members who have spoken in support of amendment 41 have been grandparents themselves. Some of us know full well how important that role is. I ask members to support amendment 41.