In court today: ‘Parents bypassed by Named Person’
Tue, 8 Mar 2016
Parents would be ignored under the Named Person scheme, a QC has told the UK’s highest court today.
Aidan O’Neill QC was speaking for The Christian Institute, CARE, TYMES Trust and the Family Education Trust in the case against the Scottish Government.
A panel of five judges is considering legal arguments at the Supreme Court in London.
No parents required
Under the proposals, every child in Scotland will be assigned a named person from birth to the age of 18, who would be tasked with looking after their “wellbeing”.
O’Neill said the scheme gives named persons rights and duties to carry out their functions without reference to the parent.
In court the QC said a GP prescribing the contraceptive pill to a teenager would have to tell the girl’s named person.
This is a compulsory scheme. There is no way for parents to opt out
“There is no requirement to involve parents in these matters”, he added.
The judges laughed when O’Neill discussed guidance stating that the named person would have input in decisions on children’s diets, bedroom decor and the TV programmes they watch.
‘Wrestling an octopus’
Noting the complexity of the legislation in terms of the data sharing aspect of the scheme, O’Neill said dealing with it was “like wrestling with an octopus”.
Ailsa Carmichael QC also spoke to judges on behalf of Clan Childlaw which is intervening in the case.
It has said children may shrink back from getting the help they need because their confidential information could be shared with Scotland’s state guardians.
The Scottish Government is represented by James Wolffe QC.
Mums and dads
The case has been scheduled for two days in the Supreme Court.
Ahead of the hearing, Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said the scheme is an “insult to the fundamental human rights of mums and dads to bring up their children the way they see fit”.
like wrestling with an octopus
Aidan O’Neill QC
He added: “This is a compulsory scheme. There is no way for parents to opt out or be the named person for their own kids.
“That means already limited and scarce resources will be spread even further.
“The Named Person scheme is just plain wrong.”
Outside the Supreme Court today: Simon Calvert, No to Named Persons; James McIntosh, parent involved in the legal action; Sam Webster, Solicitor Advocate, The Christian Institute; Alison Preuss, independent parents’ advocate; Norman Wells, Family Education Trust.