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Hamilton Ross
Solicitors and notaries
Serving Clients in Lanarkshire for over 15 Years.

Clan Child Law Assists Supreme Court

A charity that gives legal help to children and young people in Scotland has intervened to assist the Supreme Court in the ongoing judicial review proceedings regarding “Named Person” provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

Clan Childlaw is of the view that the 2014 act is imprecise in setting out the conditions for disclosure of confidential information, creating real, practical difficulties for professionals providing named person and other services; and the balance between sharing information amongst professionals and the ability of a young person to access confidential services has shifted too far towards the sharing of information, resulting in an unlawful interference with a child’s right to privacy as protected by article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The act sets a lower threshold for sharing information about children than has previously been the case. It drops the threshold from the widely understood child protection test of “risk of significant harm” to a much lower one around concern for a child’s “wellbeing”, which involves a highly subjective judgment on the part of the Named Person and others as to whether to share information. It allows for the sharing of confidential information at that lower threshold even if the child does not consent.

There is a serious risk, the charity said, that the overriding of confidentiality when there is no child protection concern will lead to children being reluctant to engage with confidential services, which will ultimately be to their detriment as they will be unable to access the help they need.

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