The Kilbrandon LecturesThe Kilbrandon Report

The Kilbrandon Report, published in 1964 as Report of the Committee on Children and Young Persons, Scotland, (cmnd 2306), was the result of an expert committee convened to ‘consider the provisions of the law of Scotland relating to the treatment of juvenile delinquents and juveniles in need of care or protection or beyond parental control’.

This committee was convened in the wake of a similar Committee on Children and Young Persons that had been convened for England, but came to radically different results. Juvenile justice in England would continue to operate on the ‘justice’ model, with an emphasis on proportionate sentences for alleged offences, adjudicated by judges in a juvenile court. Meanwhile, the model in Scotland would emphasise welfare and the needs of the child, where the same process dealt both with wrongs done by the child and wrongs done to the child.

The recommendations of the Kilbrandon Report were incorporated into legislation in 1968 and took full effect in 1971. These effects included the creation of Scotland’s Children’s Hearings System, where children in conflict with the law or in need of care and protection have their cases heard by a panel of lay people meant to reflect the makeup of the community. While changes have been made to the system since – for instance, more young people seek legal representation than in the past – the core of the distinct system set out by the Report remains in place.

To read the full text of the report, please click here: Kilbrandon Report - Full Text.

For more information, see the booklet produced for the lectures’ 20th anniversary here: Kilbrandon Lectures - 20th Anniversary