Scottish Limitation Abolition Bill

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

Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill to be introduced

The Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2016 / 2017 has been revealed on 6 September. Before June 2017, the Scottish Government intends to introduce the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament. When making the announcement of the legislative programme upon this, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland said that the Bill “fulfils a recommendation from the Scottish Human Rights Commission.” She added “As the Human Rights Commission has pointed out, the three year limitation rule is not appropriate for child abuse” explaining that, “the reasons for victims not coming forward until later in life are entirely understandable.” She concluded by advising the Scottish Parliament that “This Bill will ensure that the justice system works better for victims of such terrible crimes.”


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Written by Frank Hughes, Partner

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry and Limitation Bill – an update

As we reported on this blog on 28 July 2016, Lady Smith, a Scottish Judge since 2001 and, from 2011, a Scottish Appeal Court Judge, is the new Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. Unlike the English and Welsh Inquiry, the present remit of the Scottish Inquiry excludes non-State institutions. Hence, for instance, those alleging abuse in religious settings in the community, in contrast to State-provided care institutions, are not covered at present by the Scottish Inquiry.

Pressure is, though, building to extend the Scottish Inquiry’s scope. Alan Draper, spokesman for In Care Abuse Survivors (Incas) was reported, in the 31 August 2016 Herald newspaper, as saying that “we put forward (to the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, John Swinney) a powerful argument about extending (the scope of the Scottish Inquiry).” He adds, though, that he is “not hopeful”.

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The continuing complication of Prescription in non-recent Scottish abuse claims

A bill proposed by the Scottish Government seeks to remove limitation in child abuse claims. We have previously commented on some of the issues which arise one of which is in connection with prescription.

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Scottish Chair Resigns

The Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, Susan O’Brien QC has resigned. The Deputy First Minister has written to parliament advising he had already initiated a formal process which could have led to removal of the chair from her post. Continue reading

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry Statement

The resignation of Professor Michael Lamb from his position as a panel member of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has prompted a statement from the Chair. This includes an indication that requests for documentation from relevant organisations will be made soon.

Prof Lamb as we noted yesterday resigned due to his concerns about Government interference in the work of the Inquiry. The statement now made does not address any of the specific concerns he raised but thanks him for his invaluable contribution to the Inquiry, in particular for sharing his expertise in how to listen to survivors sensitively.

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Scotland Update – the O’Brien Inquiry

The Scottish Government’s Child Abuse Inquiry has been rocked in its infancy by the resignation of  Psychology Professor Michael Lamb, one of its three core members. Claiming the Inquiry is “doomed” due to interference from the Scottish government and has suffered “repeated threats” to its independence, the professor’s resignation comes as the Inquiry embarks on its four-year review, having already heard from some seriously ill or very elderly survivors.

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