The Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019, created the role of child interview rights practitioner (ChIRP). The Scottish Government intends to create and maintain a register of ChIRPs and are inviting expressions of interest for children’s solicitors to support children in investigative interviews.
Under the 2019 Act, investigative interviews are intended to take place in cases where instances involving serious harmful behaviours and circumstances have occurred. The 2019 Act gives children under the age of 12 the right to have a ChIRP present at investigative interviews, even in circumstances where they are over the age of 12 by the time the interview takes place.
ChIRPs will provide advice, support and assistance to children in relation to investigative interviews and will also be able to represent the child at any subsequent children’s hearings that take place. ChIRPs will require to be a solicitor under section 7 of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 and registered with the Children’s Legal Assistance Scheme.
Expressions of interest are open to applications until 12 noon on 8 July 2022. Further information on the scheme including eligibility criteria, training and fees can be found on the Scottish Government website.