This morning, 14 August 2020, the Scottish Government Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill was published on the Scottish Parliament’s website. A link to it is here. In the afternoon of Wednesday 19 August 2020, a ministerial statement is to be given in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament on the statutory redress scheme which this legislation proposes to establish. It is likely that this statement will be given by the Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP. We will cover the detail of the bill as introduced in a blog following the ministerial statement. The substance of the bill is not the only current matter of interest. The present fifth session of the Scottish Parliament is likely to be dissolved in March 2021 ahead of an election of members to the sixth session on 6 May 2021. In recent years several Scottish Government bills have been the subject of significant amendment during their passage through the three stage Scottish parliamentary legislative process. Bills which have not passed all three stages at the point of parliamentary dissolution fall but may be re-introduced to the parliament by the incoming government which assumes devolved power for Scotland after an election.
On 28 July 2020 Mr Swinney announced that 417 payments of £10k, £4.17m in total, had been made under the Scottish Government’s advanced payment scheme during the first year of its operation, 25 April 2019 – 25 April 2020. This scheme is open to those aged over 68 and those who are terminally ill. Applicants qualify for a government-funded flat-rate “common experience” payment of £10k if they can vouch the fact of residence “in care”. There is no requirement under the advanced payment scheme to prove abuse. This morning, 14 August 2020, the Scottish Government confirmed their intention for the advanced payment scheme to remain open until such time as the proposed statutory redress scheme is operational.
More detailed analysis both on the substance of the Scottish redress bill and the projected parliamentary timetable for that will follow after this Wednesday’s ministerial statement. Of particular interest on the substance are the proposed funding arrangements and the proposed interaction between a claim for statutory redress and a claim for compensation in the Scottish civil courts.
Authored by Frank Hughes, Partner and Fiona McEwan, Associate, BLM
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