BY Ian Dunn | March 8 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Charities challenge named person legislation in Supreme Court

A legal challenge against the Scottish Government’s proposals to appoint ‘named persons’ for every child in Scotland is being heard at the Supreme Court today.

Four charities and three individuals have lodged an appeal against the provisions in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. The court has been asked to decide whether the provision is compatible with fundamental common law rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, and laws on the sharing and disclosure of information from Westminster and the European Union. Under the scheme, the named person is required to exercise statutory functions, including providing advice, information or support where appropriate to promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person.

In July 2014, The Christian Institute, Family Education Trust, The Young ME Sufferers (Tymes) Trust and CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) lodged a petition with three individuals for a judicial review challenging the lawfulness of the provisions. The appellants claim the act ‘authorises unjustified and unjustifiable’ state interference with family rights.

“The Scottish Government’s named person scheme is very dangerous and will undermine parents and their role as the best guardians of their children,”  Gordon Macdonald (above), CARE for Scotland parliamentary officer, said, speaking ahead of an expected two-day hearing.

“Simple logic dictates if you spread resources too thin, which this scheme will inevitably do, vulnerable children who are most in need of help may well be overlooked and put at risk. We have brought this case to the UK Supreme Court because it has the power to overrule the Scottish Government and also because we remain utterly convinced this scheme breaches international human rights laws and therefore needs to be scrapped or redrafted.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Court of Session has twice ruled in favour of our named person legislation and we are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold these rulings.”

The Scottish Church has voiced concern about the act undermining the family.

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