Parents or grandparents who cannot agree arrangements to see children with whom they do not live may turn to the courts to resolve their disputes. The Scottish court system puts children at the centre of decisions that affect them. A key mechanism for this is the Child Welfare Hearing (CWH), which parties must attend, in which sheriffs have extensive powers to intervene.
Those who initiate contact actions (pursuers) are encouraged to respect children’s views and agree solutions with the other party (the defender) that support children’s welfare. From 2007 to 2009, a study for the Scottish Government examined the nature and impact of court actions in Scotland in respect of child contact.