Named person new law ‘could lead to more legal battles’, warn lawyers

The Scottish Government’s draft legislation to allow professionals to share information with a child’s ‘named person’ could lead to further legal challenges, lawyers have warned MSPs.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that aspects of the ‘Named Person’ scheme covering information sharing did not comply with the law. The Court determined that the information sharing provisions contained within the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 are incompatible with the rights of children, young people and parents under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Therefore the Scottish Government introduced this new Bill to rectify those problems but now the Faculty of Advocates and the Law Society of Scotland have warned that the new Bill does not do enough to ensure that rights are protected.  In evidence to the Scottish Parliament Education Committee, the lawyers stated that “some of the criticisms of the Supreme Court will continue to apply if the bill as drafted is passed”.

They said that having named persons considering whether to share information would have to carry out a “proportionality exercise” – an “exceptionally difficult requirement” for non-lawyers which “risks making their job considerably more difficult”. Solicitor Kenny Meechan from the Law Society of Scotland said he could “envisage an awful lot of people who are given named person responsibilities having their legal department on speed dial”.

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Image credit: Beth Cortez-Neaval, Flickr