§ Mr. McAvoy
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the effect of the recent legal decision on the principle of maternal preference relating to the custody of children on shared parenting as provided for by the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. 
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
The provisions in part I of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 are not due to come into force until 1 November of this year. Accordingly, it is not known what attitude the courts will take to the existing case law on custody of children when deciding whether or not to make an order under section 11(2)(c) of the 1995 Act regulating the arrangements as to the persons with whom a child is to live. Under the present law, and under the provisions of the 1995 Act, the court is required to regard the welfare of the child as its paramount consideration.