The Principal Reporter
Section 17 – Duty as respects location of children’s hearing
19.This section places a duty on the Principal Reporter (who is the person responsible for arranging all Children’s Hearings) to ensure that a Children’s Hearing takes place, so far as is practicable, in the child’s local authority area.
Section 18 – Power to change Principal Reporter’s functions
20.This section gives the Scottish Ministers power to vary the functions of the Principal Reporter. Ministers may specify further functions for the Principal Reporter, either by creating entirely new functions or through transferring functions from existing bodies or persons. Functions may also be removed from the Principal Reporter and transferred to another body or person should Ministers consider this to be appropriate. Any such change to the functions of the Principal Reporter will require to be made by an order subject to super-affirmative procedure. Subsection (1)(e) confers power on the Scottish Ministers to specify the manner in which the Principal Reporter must carry out a function or the time period in which the function must be carried out. Any such specification will require to be made by an order subject to affirmative procedure. See sections 197 and 198 for definitions of “affirmative procedure” and “super-affirmative procedure”.
Section 19 – Rights of audience
21.This section gives the Scottish Ministers the power to make regulations to empower the Principal Reporter to conduct any proceedings before the sheriff or sheriff principal in relation to the Children’s Hearings system despite not being a solicitor or advocate. This authorisation will also extend to persons to whom functions of the Principal Reporter have been delegated under paragraph 10 of schedule 3 (a “reporter”). Ministers may also prescribe any qualification, training or experience that must be undertaken by the Principal Reporter (and other reporters exercising the Principal Reporter’s functions) before conducting such court proceedings.