Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
07 July 2014
‘Named person’ legal challenge imminent

‘Named person’ legal challenge imminent

A legal challenge to block controversial plans for every child across Scotland to have a ‘named person’ will be lodged this week, Holyrood understands.

Campaign group, The Christian Institute, intends to file papers at the Court of Session seeking a judicial review of Part 4 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

Under the legislation, which was passed by MSPs in February, every person under 18 years of age will have a ‘named person’ in the form of a midwife, health visitor or teacher.

The initiative is designed to provide a single point of contact so that support can be offered to children and their families earlier and more effectively.

However, The Christian Institute has argued that the move runs contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights and amounts to interference in families’ right to a private life.

The group is also set to flag up concerns over the sharing of data under the provision, which they will argue is in breach of data protection laws.

Funds have only been raised for the first part of the action, though Colin Hart, director of the Institute, insists opponents are determined to exhaust every legal avenue, going up to the European Court of Justice if necessary.

He said: “There’s a range of things a court could do. If it does nothing, we can go to a higher level. I don’t think that is going to happen, I think the court could say there must be safeguards – you must now impose safeguards on this, this and this – so it could require the Scottish Government to bring forward safeguards because at the moment, they really aren’t there at all, it is just a complete nonsense.”

Bill Alexander, director of care and learning at Highland Council, which has fully implemented the named person role since 2010, said critics had “misrepresented” the service.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are confident that the legislation is compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights. The legislation was supported by the majority of responses to the public consultation, backed by a wide range of children’s charities and professionals working daily to support families across the country, and endorsed by the Parliament.

“Any actions or advice from the named person must be fair, proportionate and respect rights with the aim of promoting, supporting and safeguarding the wellbeing of the child.”

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe



Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top