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
As we reported on this blog on 1 September 2016, the original remit of the Scottish Inquiry excludes non-State institutions. We mentioned, in that blog, that pressure was building for the scope of the Inquiry’s remit to be extended.
Today, in the Scottish Parliament, a Ministerial Statement has been made by way of an “Update on issues relating to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry”. That Statement can be considered in four parts:
As the Henriques report in to the Metropolitan Police and Operation Midland is due for publication later today (or at least its recommendations and conclusions are) it highlights the challenges which arise when a report has been prepared. What should be published? When should it be published? Most crucially how should its recommendations be implemented? Lessons can be learned from Scotland and Australia about the importance of ensuring speedy and clear implementation of recommendations.
In the Scottish Parliament today, the Scottish Government Education Minister, John Swinney reported he is “considering” extending the remit of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. On the one hand, he acknowledged, after recently consulting survivor’s groups, their objections to the narrowness of the remit of the Inquiry in Scotland, as relating to children in care. On the other hand, he explained he has sought to balance that against delay if the remit is widened, and the interests of survivors affected by such delay. Even with its current remit the inquiry is currently scheduled to last another three years. The Inquiry has commissioned research and has commenced the process of gathering information and documents. The Inquiry has already gathered numerous accounts of abuse through private sessions taking place throughout the UK.
Two more preliminary hearings have considered administrative matters relating to the Roman Catholic Church and the Children Overseas investigations. Comments made within these make it clear that the Inquiry diary for 2017 is in reality already full. A summary of the key information to date is as follows: Continue reading
The Scottish Government has now announced the appointment of Lady Smith, a Judge of the Court of Session, as the new chair of the Scottish Inquiry into Child Abuse. Lady Smith has been a Judge since 2001 and has sat in the Scottish Civil Appeal Court (the Inner House) since 2011, as well as being a President of the Scottish Tribunals and having played a lead role in the Scottish Partnership on Domestic Abuse.