Section 91 — Proceedings

Adoption and Children (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:00 pm on 7th December 2006.

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Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour 3:00 pm, 7th December 2006

Group 14 is on variation of permanence order: proceedings. Amendment 122, in the name of the minister, is grouped with amendment 123.

Photo of Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat

Amendment 122 is essentially an amendment for the sake of consistency in the bill. Section 91 already lists those persons who are entitled to make representations to the court in any proceedings relating to variation of a permanence order. Those include the local authority; the child; any person with parental responsibilities or rights in relation to the child; any person who has had a duty conferred on him or her by the order; any person who had parental responsibilities or rights in relation to the child immediately prior to the making of the order; and anyone who had parental responsibilities or rights in relation to the child immediately prior to a previous variation of the order. It also includes any other person who, in the opinion of the court, is able to "demonstrate an interest".

We lodged an amendment to section 86 at stage 2 to allow anyone who simply claims an interest to make representations to the court in proceedings for an application for a permanence order, rather than first having to demonstrate an interest in the opinion of the court. Amendment 122 ensures that the same criteria apply in proceedings for a variation of an order. There is no change in the substance of the matter. Any person who simply claims an interest will be able to make representations. The court will take those representations into account in its deliberations if it considers that they are valid.

Amendment 123 is a technical amendment that seeks to clarify the relationship between the two provisions in section 91(5) by inserting an "or" between paragraphs (a) and (b), as the "other" in paragraph (b) means that the two provisions have to be mutually exclusive.

I move amendment 122.

Photo of Lord James Selkirk Lord James Selkirk Conservative 3:15 pm, 7th December 2006

I am grateful that the minister has lodged amendment 122, which removes the burden of having first to demonstrate an interest before being allowed to make representations to the court. It is very unlikely that those who claim to have an interest will not be genuine, and the court should be allowed to weigh up the various views.

Amendment 122 agreed to.

Amendments 123 and 47 moved—[Robert Brown]—and agreed to.