username

password

Alpha Biolabs1 Garden CourtCoram ChambersFamily Law Week Email Subscription

Supreme Court to hand down judgment in Scottish ‘named person’ case

Appellants claim that the scheme is excessively intrusive

The Supreme Court will hand down judgment in the judicial review of Scotland's 'named person scheme' on Thursday, 28th July.

In The Christian Institute and others v The Lord Advocate the Court will decide:

1. Whether the provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 ("the 2014 Act") requiring the appointment of a named person to every child and young person in Scotland (other than those serving in the UK Armed Forces) are compatible with (a) fundamental common law rights; and (b) the ECHR.

2. Whether the provisions of the 2014 Act concerning information sharing and disclosure of information associated with the exercise of the named person functions are compatible with EU law.

3. Whether the provisions of the 2014 Act concerning information sharing and disclosure of information associated with the exercise of the named person functions relate to matters reserved to the Westminster Parliament under the Scotland Act 1998.

The 2014 Act established a framework for a scheme creating a new public service in Scotland referred to as the "named person service". The scheme is to be made available by certain service providers to every child and young person in Scotland (other than those serving in the UK Armed Forces).

Under the scheme, an identified individual – "a named person" – is to be made available to every child and young person within the scope of the legislation. That named person is required to exercise statutory functions, including providing advice, information or support. These functions must be exercised where the named person considers it to be appropriate in order to promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person.

The appellants are four registered charities and three individuals. In July 2014, they lodged a petition for judicial review challenging the lawfulness of certain provisions of the named person scheme under the 2014 Act on the grounds that they purported to authorise unjustified and unjustifiable state interference with family rights. In January 2015, the Lord Ordinary dismissed the appellants' petition. The appellants' reclaimed, but their reclaiming motion was dismissed by the Inner House in September 2015. They now appeal to the Supreme Court.

According to The Christian Institute, a recent poll has shown almost two-thirds of Scots are opposed to the scheme. It says that according to the poll, 64 per cent of Scots believe the scheme, which appoints a state guardian to every child from before birth up to age 18, is an "unacceptable intrusion into family life".

For more information about the case, click here.

22/7/16