Humanists appeal for cash to take Scottish Government to court

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The Humanist Society Scotland needs to raise £3,000 to get religious observance challenge off the ground

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28th September 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

The Humanist Society Scotland (HSS) has launched a crowdfunding appeal to support a legal challenge against the Scottish Government.

It is seeking a judicial review of a decision by ministers not to allow young people to opt-out of religious observance.

The society says overall it will need at least £30,000 to cover the costs of the challenge, which includes legal advice, administration charges, solicitor fees and eventually court fees but in order to get the case off the ground, it is aiming raise at least £3,000 by 24 October on the CrowdJustice platform.

The initial response to our legal challenge has been so positive, with backing from people all over Scotland

Urging people to donate, Gary McLelland, HSS head of communications and public affairs, said: “The initial response to our legal challenge has been so positive, with backing from people all over Scotland.

"This is the most ambitious campaign we have ever embarked upon, and we need all the help we can get. We are a small charity, we receive no funding from the government and rely on our members and supporters for funding.

"We already trust young people with many important medical and life choices, this should be no different. We're asking everyone in Scotland who supports the rights of young people to help us. Help us raise the funds we need, and spread the word."

The legal action follows a decision by ministers not to update their guidance to teachers in light of the most recent UN Children’s Rights Committee review which called on the Scottish Government to extend the parental right to opt-out of religious observance to young people.

HSS, after taking expert legal advice, believe that the government may have acted unlawfully by refusing to ensure its guidance remains in line with current international human rights law.

In Scotland all young people require parental permission to withdraw from religious observance, unlike England and Wales where sixth form pupils (typically aged 16-18) have the right to opt-out.