The Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017 comes into force today.
Previously, we have highlighted the Act’s retrospective effect in allowing claims arising from childhood abuse which happened after 26 September 1964 to be litigated without any time-bar impediment.
It is also worth emphasising the Act’s prospective application. Childhood abuse, which may be happening now or at any time in the future as well as after 1964, could give rise to litigation without any time-bar hurdle for the claimant to overcome, not only now but for all time coming. That should be borne in mind in the context of record-keeping, going forward, as well as to date.
Yesterday, after Stage 1 Debate, the Scottish Parliament approved the motion “that the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill.”
For pre-1964 abuse survivors, who will not benefit from the Bill should it become an Act, the Scottish Government have committed to a formal process of consultation and engagement, led by CELCIS (Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland). This will be with relevant parties on the question of financial redress for in-care survivors, including redress for survivors abused prior to 1964.
It has been an eventful day in Scotland both at the Scottish Child Abuse inquiry and in the Scottish Parliament.
The only remaining original panel member of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, Glenn Houston, has resigned, citing personal reasons.
That Inquiry, which Lady Smith continues to chair, confirmed today that it has rejected an application for core participant status by Wellbeing Scotland. Such status can be conferred by the Inquiry on individuals or organisations if they are considered to have a “significant role in all or part of the matters being considered by the Inquiry”. However, Wellbeing Scotland has submitted a fresh application to become a core participant, which is now under consideration.
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..