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“Named Person” Scheme Judicial Review Challenge:

A four day legal challenge in the Court of Session has just concluded to determine whether the recently passed Scottish Parliament legislation to appoint a “named person” for every child in Scotland is lawful. The Court has reserved it’s decision and will issue it’s written opinion in due course. 
The case has been brought by Christian Institute and other charitable bodies and individuals who are contesting the legality of the plan. One of the arguments is that to have such legislation for every child in Scotland is heavy handed state intervention and a fundamental and unnecessary intrusion on the right for parents to determine how to bring up their children. 
The disputed legislation, which is contained in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, will assign a named person to every child in Scotland up to the age of 18 (and even beyond should the child remain in school after 18). That named person, for example a head teacher or health visitor, will have the power to speak with public bodies, receive and share information about the child in very wide circumstances without:

having to involve the child or parents
seeking their consent
telling them when they are receiving /sharing information.

The petitioners challenging the legislation argue that the provisions breach EU and domestic data protection law, in particular the provisions relating to consent and the necessity to share information where no consent is required. They also argue that the named person scheme breaches the right to a private family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the basis that this form of state intrusion is disproportionate as it applies to every child and every family in Scotland (with only very limited exceptions) which would include families where there is no risk to the child’s wellbeing. 
If the petitioners are successful, then it would only be the third time that someone has been able to strike down a provision contained in an Act of the Scottish Parliament.

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