Plans to assign a named person to every child in Scotland clash with fundamental human rights, Scotland’s supreme civil court has heard.
Speaking during the judicial review against the scheme last week, leading human rights QC Aidan O’Neill accused the Government of putting out “rubbish”, and not being open enough about the legislation.
He told the judge, Lord Pentland, that the plans interfere with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, requiring respect for private and family life.
O’Neill maintained that the Government’s defence had failed to show a legitimate aim for the scheme.
“Frankly I say there has been a complete failure in the duty of candour which applies here,” he said.
“There is a responsibility in legislating. You don’t just put out any old rubbish”, he added.
O’Neill argued that a compulsory named person for every child is unnecessary.
The legislation gives responsibility to the named person to promote a child’s ‘wellbeing’, ensuring they are “healthy, nurtured and included”.
But O’Neill pointed out that these are all things “which we can expect that parents will be doing for their child with love and respect in the context of the family home”.
In that case, “there is no need for a ‘named person’, but nonetheless a ‘named person’ is going to be appointed”, he explained.
“What this legislation purports to authorise is the named person being appointed to every child in Scotland without the consent of parents and without it being needed”, he commented.
The Scottish Government intends that the scheme, assigning a state-employed named person to every child under the age of 18, will be rolled out across the country in 2016. However it is already operating in some areas.
The legal action is being taken by The Christian Institute, Christian charity CARE, Tymes (The Young ME Sufferers) Trust, the Family Education Trust and concerned parents.