Scottish Limitation Abolition Bill

The third and final legislative stage of the Bill to retrospectively abolish limitation for cases of personal injury arising from childhood abuse took place in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 22 June 2017.

A proposed amendment to require Scottish Ministers to prepare a financial report on the likely impact on public bodies and their ability to meet any obligations arising from the retrospective provisions of the Bill was rejected.

Following that rejection, the Bill was unanimously passed. Royal Assent to the Bill is now anticipated, whereupon it will become an Act of the Scottish Parliament. Its provisions will thereafter come into force by way of Scottish ministerial regulations.

Frank Hughes and Siobhan Kelly, partners, BLM


HIAI update from Northern Ireland

Sir Anthony Hart, Chairman of the Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI), took the unusual step of releasing a statement last week.

The Terms of Reference for the HIAI were announced by the First and Deputy First Ministers on the 31 May 2012, when they also announced the identity of the Chair and detail about the Acknowledgement Forum.

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IICSA – the challenge of keeping all engaged

The Survivors of Organised and Institutional Abuse (SOIA) group have today withdrawn its support for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), with reports saying it has lost confidence in the process.

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Inquiries update

The four active national abuse inquiries are all at the moment running smoothly, a positive step for the inquiries in Scotland and England and Wales in particular. Recent progress and up-coming developments are summarised below.

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Scottish Limitation Abolition Bill and Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry update

Stage two of the three-stage legislative progress of the Bill to retrospectively abolish limitation for childhood abuse cases was completed on 23 May 2017, after the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament considered proposed amendments. We summarise those and the Justice Committee’s decisions on them, as follows:

  • Definition of “abuse”: the Justice Committee agreed, unanimously, to an amendment to include, as an explicit part of the present non-exhaustive definition, “abuse which takes the form of neglect”.
  • Requirement for a report on resources: the Justice Committee rejected a proposed amendment that would have required Scottish Ministers to prepare a financial report on the likely impact on public bodies and their ability to meet any obligations arising from the prospective legislation.

Separately, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has published more detail on phase one of its public inquiry hearings. Those will be held between 31 May and 12 July 2017. The agenda for the first week, 31 May – 2 June comprises: opening statements from a wider group of organisations than those presently designated as “core participants” in the Inquiry, followed by expert evidence on background and contextual research.

The opening statements will be heard from survivors groups, Quarriers, Barnardos and a host of Roman Catholic religious orders and governing institutions as well as the Church of Scotland.

Written by Frank Hughes and Siobhan Kelly, partners at BLM

Four upcoming preliminary hearings

As progress is made in individual investigations, IICSA has confirmed dates for four further preliminary hearings.

Details of the dates and investigations are as follows:

  • 9 May 2017 – Child Migration Programme case study (part of the Children Outside the UK Investigation);
  • 10 May 2017 – Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale;
  • 11 May 2017 – Children in the care of Nottinghamshire Councils and
  • 6 June 2017 – Benedictine case study (part of the Roman Catholic Church Investigation).

The preliminary hearings will not be broadcast but they are open to the press and public. The hearings will be held at the International Dispute Resolution Centre on Fleet Street.

Further updates following these hearings will be provided.


Written by Miriam Rahamim, solicitor at BLM

Scottish Limitation Abolition Bill passes Stage 1

Yesterday, after Stage 1 Debate, the Scottish Parliament approved the motion “that the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill.”

For pre-1964 abuse survivors, who will not benefit from the Bill should it become an Act, the Scottish Government have committed to a formal process of consultation and engagement, led by CELCIS (Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland). This will be with relevant parties on the question of financial redress for in-care survivors, including redress for survivors abused prior to 1964.

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