Named person data-sharing law ‘could lead to more legal battles’, warn lawyers

Written by Tom Freeman on 20 September 2017 in News

Statutory code of practice on information sharing is currently "inadequate" for named person law, warns Faculty of Advocates and Law Society of Scotland

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The Scottish Government’s draft legislation to allow professionals to share information with a child’s named person could lead to further legal challenges, lawyers have warned MSPs.

Last year, following a legal challenge, the Supreme Court ruled the named person scheme was not lawful because of consent around information sharing.

Giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee this morning, Kenny Meechan of the Law Society of Scotland and Janys Scott QC of the Faculty of Advocates said the law to fix the issue was based on an “inadequate” statutory code of practice, which is still in draft form.


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Meechan said the code was “misleading at best” and would require a “deeper level of understanding” from professionals such as teachers.

“They will need their lawyer on speed dial,” he said.

Scott said parents may be reluctant to share info like their post-natal depression with medical professionals if they think it might get back to their child's teachers.

Meechan also said introducing the proposed law was a “near impossible task” while regulations around information sharing was “a moving target”.

Imminent introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) at a UK level “changes everything” around consent, he said.

The Faculty of Advocates has suggested amending the bill so that even when information is shared without consent to protect children, that individuals are told.

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