Last week Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, delivered a speech to the Scottish Parliament entitled “Priorities Speech – Taking Scotland Forward”.
No mention is made of the proposed Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill (nor, for that matter, of an Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation (Scotland) Bill). It is anticipated that the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP, will speak specifically about those matters shortly..
One issue which is of importance with regard to the proposed changes to limitation and the difficulties around prescription is that of human rights. The First Minister did mention, albeit in very general terms, human rights, saying: “The final theme I want to talk about today is empowerment and democratic accountability … we will seek to empower individuals and communities. Across our country for example, at a time when the UK government is still considering repeal of the Human Rights Act, we will take a different approach. We will work with civic Scotland to establish a set of social and economic rights for all of Scotland’s citizens. By valuing and strengthening human rights, we can empower citizens and encourage better government … That sense of empowerment – for individuals, for families, for communities and for our country as a whole – is what we seek to build over the next 5 years”. Quite how that fits with the human rights issues which arise with the proposed limitation bill remains unclear.
Written by Frank Hughes, partner