Payment of Safeguarders and Curators Ad Litem in children’s hearings court proceedings

The following offices are distinct from a solicitor’s office, even when one person acts in a dual capacity (see Henderson –v- Henderson 1194 SCLR 553 and Nugent –v- Nugent Glasgow Sheriff Court 1998 unreported):

  • A safeguarder appointed by a children’s hearing [section 30 of the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011]
  • A safeguarder appointed by a sheriff [Section 31 of the 2011 Act]
  • A curator ad litem appointed by a sheriff on behalf of an incapable adult or child under common law in 2011 Act proceedings

A person appointed to act as a safeguarder and/or curator ad litem in 2011 does not need not be a practising and registered solicitor. In such a role, you will not provide legal services to the child or adult.

Children’s legal aid is defined in section 28B(2) of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 (inserted by the 2011 Act) and consists of representation by a solicitor and, where appropriate, counsel in various proceedings under the 2011 Act which are listed at section 28B(3).  It includes all assistance a solicitor or counsel usually gives in the steps preliminary or incidental to such proceedings.

We can only pay for the provision of legal services (legal representation and assistance) by you or counsel and not for work carried out by a safeguarder or curator. .

Scottish Ministers  make provision for the payment of safeguarders expenses, fees and allowances.  Currently the Scottish Government has contracted this function to Children 1st.

There is no statutory payment mechanism for a curator ad litem. As you will note from this guidance we cannot pay a curator.

Appointment as both safeguarder and curator ad litem

Guidance is available if someone is appointed by the sheriff to act as both safeguarder and curator ad litem.

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