Book Chapter

Making Scotland 'the best place in the world to grow up'?



Sutherland EE (2020) Making Scotland 'the best place in the world to grow up'?. In: Brinig M (ed.) International Survey of Family Law: 2020. International Survey of Family Law. Cambridge: Interesentia, pp. 215-238.

As Westminster was mired in the unseemly spectacle that was Brexit, the Scottish parliament moved forward with its legislative programme. That included important child and family law measures and this chapter focusses on what has been – and has still to be – achieved in child law. Two long-overdue reforms are particularly welcome. First, Scots law will no longer permit parents to hit their children. Secondly, the minimum age of criminal responsibility has been raised to 12 years old. Legislation refining the law on intra-family disputes over children is making its way through the Scottish parliamentary process and is accompanied by initiatives designed to improve how the law operates in practice. Work continues on the law on child protection and on improving the experience of children who are looked after by the state. The Scottish Government has committed itself to ensuring the incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law in so far as it can under the current devolved structure in the United Kingdom. The Scottish Government is fond of repeating its ambition to make Scotland ‘the best place in the world to grow up’ and reform of the law and practice is an important part of achieving that goal. However, it will have to do a great deal more – not least addressing the fact that one in four children live in poverty – before it comes close to realising its ambition.

child law; family law; child; children's rights; parent; child protection

Title of seriesInternational Survey of Family Law
Publication date30/09/2020
Publisher URL…ly-law-2020.html
Place of publicationCambridge

People (1)


Professor Elaine Sutherland

Professor Elaine Sutherland

Emeritus Professor, Law