Labour and the Lib Dems had argued that introducing state-funded lawyers for vulnerable adults may see children’s hearings become more “legalistic” after concerns raised by children’s panel members.

Holyrood’s education committee voted to scrap the secondary legislation yesterday but a full meeting of Parliament tonight overturned this as the Tories sided with the Government.

MSPs voted 65-60 against ditching the regulations, with one abstention.

Children’s Minister Adam Ingram had told MSPs that the measure would mainly affect parents - who have a “mental incapacity” - of children at hearings by allowing them a state-funded lawyer.

“If, for example, a relevant person has been assessed as having the language ability of a child of 6 and a half, the literacy skills of an 8-year-old and the numeracy skills of a 6-year-old, how can we honestly expect them to have their say, to put their perspective across, without help and support?” he said today

“We have a moral duty to support them.”

The order, the Children’s Hearings (Legal Representation) (Scotland) Amendment Rules 2009, was drawn up after a case at the Court of Session involving a parent with the language ability of a six-year-old.

The Government accepted that it should fund her legal representation and other vulnerable adults, although no judgment has yet been issued.

To continue without the legislation would be against the European Convention on Human Rights, the Government said.

Mr Ingram said that the extension of state-funded representation will only cover about 250 cases a year.

Labour committee convener Karen Whitefield said her party’s criticisms were prompted by panel members themselves.

Gerard McEneany, chair of the Children’s Panel Chairman’s Group, wrote to the committee last week calling for the measure to be rejected because of “a lack of consultation” and instead be included in a forthcoming Bill on children’s hearings.

Ms Whitefield said today: “The minister seems determined to ignore these concerns and appears to be more focused on attacking those who raise such concerns.

“Primarily these focused on the potential for this measure to introduce a much more legalistic approach within the children’s hearing system.”

Margaret Smith, for the Liberal Democrats, said her party was worried that the proposed measure may damage the ethos of the children’s hearing system, creating “over-legalisation of the system by stealth”.

Tory Liz Smith said she abstained in yesterday’s committee decision as she did not have sufficient information to judge whether the regulation should be passed but said her party had “reluctantly” sided with the Government tonight.