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
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
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.
The Scottish Parliament has confirmed that it will debate the Limitation Abolition Bill, at Stage 1, in the afternoon of Thursday 27 April.
In other news, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, whose cost from its set-up on 1 October 2015 to 31 March 2017 has recently been confirmed at over £5.7m, has now set the timetable for Phase 1 of its Public Hearings. Commencing on 31 May there are evidence sessions scheduled to 9 June covering: Continue reading
The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee has endorsed the general principles of the Bill proposing the retrospective abolition of limitation in cases of childhood abuse. Nonetheless, significant issues of detail and relevant concerns have been flagged in the Committee’s Stage 1 Report. This is now for further consideration by the Scottish Government. We summarise the position taken by the Committee on pre-26 September 1964 abuse then list the issues which have been flagged for further attention. Continue reading
Earlier this month Barry Bennell, former coach with Crewe Alexander, was charged with 12 further counts of indecent assault and serious sexual assault on boys in the years between 1980 and 1987. This brings the outstanding charges against him to 20 since Andy Woodward and other players’ allegations about him were first made in November 2016. He has pleaded Not Guilty to all charges.
Since those initial disclosures there has been a succession of disclosures and developments within UK football and other sports.
The third, and final, evidence session on the Bill to retrospectively abolish limitation in cases of childhood abuse took place today before the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament.
The Scottish Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Annabelle Ewing MSP, gave evidence. We summarise that as follows:
Background to the Bill
The Minister explained that various reform options were considered before the present Bill was drafted. Those included: giving guidance on the exercise of judicial discretion to allow a claim to proceed though raised late; the extension of the limitation period; and even wholesale abolition of limitation. It was ultimately decided that the present Bill was the most proportionate way to proceed to meet the specific aim of improving access to justice for survivors.