Rights and responsibilities

Children's rights

Children in Scotland have many legal rights. For example, any child has the right to have a bank account opened in their name, or to obtain access to their health or social work records.

As a young person grows up, their legal rights increase. By the age of 16, a young person in Scotland can get married, change their name, or apply for their own home in their local council area.

Age of responsibility

People in Scotland also have many legal responsibilities. The law states that young people over 12 years of age can be old enough to take responsibility. If a child is under 12-years old, their views should be listened to – depending on the extent to which they understand an issue.

In most cases parents have responsibility for their children until the child is 16 years old. There are, however, occasions where the courts will take action and make decisions to ensure the wellbeing of a child – such as when parents fail to take responsibility.