Named Person legal challenge dismissed – appeal considered

Campaigners against plans to impose a Named Person on every child in Scotland are considering an appeal after a judge rejected their arguments about breaches of human rights law.

Today Lord Pentland dismissed the serious concerns in a written judgment following a four-day Judicial Review in the outer house of the Court of Session last year.

The Christian Institute, alongside other charities and parents, launched the legal action and was represented by leading human rights QC Aidan O’Neill.

Long haul

He told the court that the scheme is a form of “state intervention” in the family.

A spokesman for the campaign group No to Named Persons said they are in this for the “long haul”.

“We have the opinion of one judge on this matter but it is often the case that when such important and fundamental issues are being considered the matter goes before a bench of three or more”, he explained.

Campaign continues

He said the campaign continues “against this Big Brother law which threatens every family in the land and diminishes the rights and responsibilities of mums and dads to look after their children as they see fit”.

“The named person proposals are flawed in conception, drawn up in error, legislated for in haste and will fail the very children this politically correct government claims to be acting in the name of”, he added.

In his judgment, Lord Pentland expressed the view that existing human rights and data protection laws are sufficient safeguards.


He said the case presented against the Named Person scheme had failed to show how it was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The judge argued that the scheme should not be assumed to be “inappropriately invasive” and that it is “a matter for the legislature to decide whether the wellbeing of children is likely to be promoted by having a near-universal system for appointing named persons”.

He added: “In the great majority of cases the practical effect of allocating a named person to a child or young person is likely to be minimal.”

Affected parents

The operation of the Named Person scheme in pilot areas has already affected parents.

James and Rhianwen McIntosh, who are part of the legal proceedings, were told their children’s private medical reports would be shared with a state-employed Named Person.

And Deborah Thomas, from near Comrie in Perthshire, said she first came across the Named Person scheme when her son was asked to fill in what he described as a “creepy and weird” survey at school – without her knowledge or consent.

A public consultation on guidance to accompany the legislation is still to be carried out – this will determine how the scheme is implemented in practice.

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