ABC and DEF lived with their parents until June 2016...
ABC challenged the decisions of two Children’s Hearings, vis-à-vis his lack of involvement, on the basis that he was not able to fully participate in the decision-making process, despite his established family life with DEF which attracted protection under A8 ECHR.
ABC returned to the care of his parents in July 2017. DEF remained in foster care.
ABC was notified of and attended a children’s hearing in December which amended the contact direction to include unsupervised contact for a minimum of two hours once per fortnight and continued the restriction on telephone contact. ABC was not subsequently given reports or the written reasons.
ABC appealed this decision of the Lord Ordinary to the Inner House on the basis that she should have found S81(3) to be incompatible with ECHR A8. It was argued that, even read down, the test did not provide an effective route to full participation in the decision-making process. Rather, those with an established family life with a child which might be interfered with by the decision of a Children’s Hearing must be given the procedural protection of being granted Relevant Person status.