Humza Yousaf's wife drops legal case against nursery
A legal case brought against a nursery in Broughty Ferry by health secretary Humza Yousaf and his wife Nadia El-Nakla has been dropped prior to reaching court.
Yousaf and El-Nakla launched the £30,000 case against Little Scholars Day Nursery in 2021, claiming it had discriminated against the family by failing to offer their then two-year-old daughter Amal a place.
The couple initially launched legal proceedings through lawyer Aamer Anwar in August 2021 before making a complaint to the Care Inspectorate, which was upheld, later that year.
El-Nakla has now decided not to press ahead with the case. Anwar said it had been a “tough decision” for El-Nakla to make, but that “as a mother and father” she and Yousaf “hope it’s the right one, all things considered”.
“Nadia and Humza, first and foremost, are loving parents who like any others would do anything to protect their children,” he said.
“They only ever wanted the nursery to accept the findings of the independent Care Inspectorate investigation and for the nursery to make changes.”
Little Scholars owner Usha Fowdar said she was “extremely pleased” to see the “baseless legal action” dropped and questioned why El-Nakla and Yousaf did not “pick up the phone to quickly resolve what was a simple misunderstanding” rather than attempting to take the matter to court.
The couple initially made their complaint about the nursery after Amal was refused a place while, they said, applications submitted by friends and family for “white Scottish-sounding names” were accepted.
The Care Inspectorate initially found that the nursery “did not promote fairness, equality and respect” when offering placements, in part because the absence of a dedicated applications email address meant some enquiries could be missed.
A follow-up report issued in December 2021 found that the nursery had taken appropriate action to address the issues, with “new enquiry and admission processes […] introduced” that “included using a two-person approach as part of their new robust enquiry system”.
“It bears repeating that, despite some extremely misleading headlines and spurious allegations, the Care Inspectorate identified administrative processes for improvement which had nothing to do with discrimination, because there never was any discrimination. Any attempt to twist this fact should be called out for what it is,” Fowdar said.
“Ms El-Nakla has, very sensibly, opted to drop her legal action in the face of our determination to defend ourselves and our hard-working employees.
“While I’m pleased our employees will be spared the stress of appearing as witnesses, in one sense I’m also disappointed, as the court case would have been extremely revealing and I’m utterly confident we would have prevailed.
“Despite this vindication, it has been deeply upsetting to have spent almost 18 months and tens of thousands of pounds defending our small nursery against their false claims.
“It beggars belief that, rather than pick up the phone to quickly resolve what was a simple misunderstanding, they colluded in a half-baked sting operation and then mounted a vicious and cynical campaign against us in the national media. What sort of people do that?”
Anwar said the decision to drop the legal action was a joint agreement between both parties, made after Little Scholars' “acknowledgement of the findings of an independent investigation and implementing the necessary changes in full”.
“Nadia believes that as a mother she was justified in raising this legal action, she felt deeply hurt and hopes that as a result real change will take place,” he added, noting that “the matter is now at an end”.