Lord Hodge delivered the Supreme Courts judgement on 18 June 2020 by video link refusing appeals by siblings challenging legislation which did not allow them to be granted ‘relevant person’ status in children’s hearings proceedings.
The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeals, both brought by siblings of children involved in the hearing system. The basis of both appeals was that the refusal to grant ‘relevant person’ status and thus the right to attend and participate in hearings, was incompatible with the applicants human rights.
The Court held “In our view, article 8 of the ECHR does not require the public authorities to give a sibling, who has not, and has not recently had, a significant involvement in the upbringing of the child, the status of a relevant person”. “ A distinction has to be drawn between the role of a parent and that of most siblings.”
The importance of sibling relationships was however recognised by the Court “We nonetheless acknowledge that the initiation of these challenges has served to uncover a gap in the children’s hearings system which has had to be adapted to meet the requirements of article 8 in relation to siblings and other family members.” “There needs, in short, to be a bespoke enquiry about the child’s relationship with his or her siblings when the children’s hearing is addressing the possibility of making a CSO.”
The full judgement can be accessed here: