At the present time grandparents in Scotland have no legal rights. The Scottish Government decided some time ago not to confer automatic parental rights on grandparents, on the basis that there were existing legal mechanisms for them to apply to the court for any necessary orders.
We understand the Scottish Government has no plans to change this situation. However, a grandparent can – just as a natural parent – apply to the court to obtain the right to maintain contact with their grandchildren.
As the law currently stands, any person can apply for orders under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 in relation to children. They do not have to be a parent. The court only has to be satisfied that the order being asked for would serve the best interests of the children concerned. That means a grandparent could make an application to the court for the right to see their grandchildren.
A grandparent who can show that they previously had a good relationship with their grandchildren should be able to show that that relationship should not come to an end just because, for example, the parents separate. Many grandchildren in any event are as close to grandparents as children are to the natural parents.
Unfortunately it is unlikely that grandparents will be given automatic parental rights in the near future but that should not be a problem as even many fathers lack parental rights without this causing any particular problem. Also, many grandparents act as long-term carers for children without requiring parental rights.
All that a grandparent has to do therefore is persuade the court that what they’re asking for would benefit their grandchildren. We have acted for many grandparents over the years and have often been successful in obtaining court orders for them.
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