HC Deb 19 March 1877 vol 233 c119

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether his attention has recently been directed to the operation of the Law of Scotland relating to the custody of infants in cases where the parents are separated without either being personally disqualified; and, whether he is prepared to recommend an amendment of the Law so as to give the mothers in such cases the preference to the custody of the child up to the age of seven, as in the Law of England?


In answer to the hon. Member for Forfarshire, I have to say that, by the law of Scotland, whenever the parents are living apart, it is entirely left to the discretion of one of the Divisions of the Supreme Court to determine, according to the circumstances of each case, which parent shall have the custody of the child up to seven years of age. I have had my attention not only recently, but for many years, called to this point. I will only say that I am unable to suggest any better mode of dealing with this delicate and important question. I am not prepared to recommend any amendment of the law for this reason—that, so far as I am able to ascertain, the law of Scotland in its principles and in its administration differs in no substantial respect from the law of England on the same subject.