Victory! Supreme Court rules Named Person scheme illegal

The Supreme Court has vindicated our judicial review of the Scottish Government’s controversial Named Person scheme, ruling the plans unlawful.

In a historic decision the five judges, including two from Scotland, unanimously struck down the central provisions of the scheme this morning.

The Scottish Government has no opportunity to appeal.


The landmark judgment in the case of The Christian Institute and others v The Lord Advocate (Scotland) was written by senior Scottish judges Lord Reed and Lord Hodge, along with Deputy President of the Supreme Court Lady Hale.

The whole judgment was then agreed by two other Supreme Court judges.

It is the first time the Supreme Court has prevented a major piece of legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament from coming into force.

Struck down

Under the proposals, from 31 August every child in Scotland was to be assigned a state guardian to monitor their ‘wellbeing’ – defined as “happiness”.

However, the Court stated that the data sharing provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act breach the right to a private and family life under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

These provisions, central to the scheme, have been struck down.


In one devastating line from the judgment, the Supreme Court justices observed:

“The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get at the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world.”

The Christian Institute co-ordinated the successful legal action.

Institute Director, Colin Hart, said the ruling was a “vindication” of what the Institute and others had been saying for years.


Mr Hart said: “This is a devastating blow for the Scottish Government which sought to brush off all criticism of its Named Person scheme as ‘scaremongering'”.

The Court stated that “within limits, families must be left to bring up their children in their own way”.

Highlighting this Mr Hart said: “This strong endorsement of family autonomy will be welcomed by families all across the UK, including Christian families, who sometimes sense a creeping intolerance from government officials.”


He concluded by stressing that the Named Person scheme’s “cavalier approach” to handling private information “is unlawful and must not happen.”

“The ruling protects families all across the UK from unwarranted invasion of their privacy by the state.

“We urge local and national government agencies to read the ruling carefully and amend their policies and practices to ensure they properly respect the privacy and autonomy of innocent families.”


Dubbed the “State Snooper” scheme by the Scottish press, the Named Person law has endured months of hostility from the public, and hard questions for the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Deputy, John Swinney.

Unions representing the health visitors and teachers due to be assigned the Named Person role criticised the plans.

A poll on behalf of The Christian Institute in March this year found nearly two-thirds of Scots believed it was an “unacceptable intrusion” into family life.

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