Posted by familylaw on 18th September 2014
Last updated 31st August 2021

In legal terms Scotland and England are already divorced.

The Referendum has caused a good deal of publicity with concerns expressed over the economy and other issues about which Scots are passionate.

However, one thing many people do not realise is that the Scottish Legal System is quite separate from the English.

In terms of history, the English and Scottish Crowns were not united until 1603.

Many more people will now be aware of the Act of Union of 1707, which established the Parliament of Great Britain, but the Legal System of Scotland remained separate, and this was expressly provided for in the Act of Union.

As Specialist Family Solicitors in Exeter and Plymouth we are very much conscious of this. It is highlighted particularly when children are taken across the border by one parent, when they do not have the permission of the other parent who has Parental Responsibility.

In such circumstances applications can be made through the English Courts, under the Family Law Act 1986. In order to carry out the provisions of an Order made by the English Courts  requiring the return of a child, the proceedings must be registered in the Court of Session (in Scotland) so that papers can be served, and the terms of the Order recognised and enforced by the Scottish Courts. Often enforcement is through the office of the (Scottish) Sheriff.

In those circumstances, interestingly, one may be protecting a child from being removed from the Jurisdiction, perhaps being taken to Scotland to avoid the English system. Here there is good protection through the U.K. Passport Agency.

If Scotland decides to separate from England the question arises, what will happen to her Majesty’s Passport Office?

Given that co-operation is very good between the English and Scottish legal systems, and the importance of protecting children from unlawful removal is an accepted policy between both England and Scotland and the European Community, appropriate measures will need to be put in place to ensure that fluidity where there is a need for urgent protection if Scotland votes ‘Yes’.

The Family Law Company has a Specialist Team working in Abduction so, whether a child is taken outside of the U.K. or is unlawful removed from England and Wales to Scotland or Northern Ireland, we’re here to help.

If you consider that your child may be at risk please contact the Head of the Abduction Team, Jane Chanot on 01392 457160 or email [email protected].

Need some advice? Get in touch today

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