Named person legal challenge fails

Court of session

Coalition fails in challenge to named person legislation  

23rd January 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A bid to oppose Scottish Government proposals to appoint a named person for every child under 18 has failed.

Lord Pentland at the Court of Session said the case, brought by a coalition of charities and individuals who argued it breached human rights, failed on all points.

The new legislation means children under 18 will be assigned a named person such as a teacher or health visitor, to ensure their welfare.

But a coalition of charities - the Christian Institute, Family Education Trust, The Young ME Sufferers Trust and Care (Christian Action Research and Education) – alongside parents sought a judicial review.

Lord Pentland said the coalition had failed to show the provisions were incompatible with rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

"It is important to keep a sense of proportion and balance and not to assume that the new service will operate in a way that is inappropriately invasive or disrespectful of private and family lives," he said.

"In the great majority of cases the practical effect of allocating a named person to a child or young person is likely to be minimal."

Children in Scotland chief executive Jackie Brock welcomed the decision.

“We fully endorse the opinion of Lord Pentland,” she said.

“We have always appreciated the concern over the named person but believe this was a result of a misunderstanding of what the proposal would actually involve in reality.

“Having a primary point of contact available to all children is the formalisation of practice that already exists across the country.

“However, we must stress that excellent quality guidance will be critical to successful implementation of the Act, and we will continue to highlight the issue and work with partners on this in the coming months.”

Children's minister Fiona McLeod said named persons are being introduced because parents and children asked for them, as a single point of contact.

"They will build on the kind of supportive role that teachers, doctors, nurses and health visitors have long offered to children and parents.

“The service has been tested and is already working well in several areas of Scotland," she said.