Supreme Court to rule on ‘named person’ service

Family|July 25th 2016

The Supreme Court will rule this week on Scottish regulations set to allocate everyone under the age of 18 an official ‘named person’.

Due to come into force on 31 August, the ‘named person scheme’ will see every child north of the border placed under the supervision of an official from the NHS or local authority. Each named person will be required to provide the child with advice and support, help them access services or discuss matters concerning them.

The scheme has proved controversial, with opponents claiming its represents unjustified state interference in parenting and family life and that it may even be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

A legal challenge has been taken all the way to the Supreme Court. In The Christian Institute and others (Appellants) v The Lord Advocate (Respondent) (Scotland), the appellants claim the named person scheme is incompatible with both the ECHR and ‘fundamental common law rights’. The Supreme Court will also consider the legality of information sharing and disclosure under the scheme.

Appellants in the case include religious organisation the Christian Institute, research group the Family Education Trust and the Young ME Sufferers Trust. A number of individuals have also participated.

The Christian Institute claims that close to two thirds of Scots oppose the named person scheme on the grounds that it represents “unacceptable intrusion”.

The campaigners initially petitioned for a judicial review of the scheme and then appealed to the Supreme Court after their petitions were dismissed.

A ruling is expected on Thursday.

Read more here.

Photo of Edinburgh by Eduards Ceravs via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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