The second preliminary took place on 25 September in preparation for the three weeks of public hearings due to start on 26 November 2018.
In the Inquiry’s words: This investigation focuses on the support services and legal remedies available to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. It responds to multiple reports of inadequate support services, obstructive insurance companies and a civil justice system that may not deliver genuine reparation.
The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee has endorsed the general principles of the Bill proposing the retrospective abolition of limitation in cases of childhood abuse. Nonetheless, significant issues of detail and relevant concerns have been flagged in the Committee’s Stage 1 Report. This is now for further consideration by the Scottish Government. We summarise the position taken by the Committee on pre-26 September 1964 abuse then list the issues which have been flagged for further attention. Continue reading
Removal of limitation, changes to Criminal Injuries Compensation and a redress scheme for all abuse victims and survivors were called for by some representatives of victim and survivor core participants at the preliminary hearing of this investigation today.
The Court of Appeal handed down its ruling in the case of JL -v- (1) Archbishop Michael George Bowen (2) Scout Association  EWCA Civ 82 yesterday. (http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2017/82.html)
BLM acted for the second defendant, The Scout Association.
The Court held that the judge at first instance had been wrong when he disapplied the limitation period and allowed the claim to proceed. The trial judge had made factual findings about the claimant in this case, which resulted in the majority of the claimant’s claims being rejected. The judge had failed to attach sufficient weight to the factual findings, when considering the reasons for the claimant’s delay in pursuing his claim; how long the delay had actually been; and the degree of prejudice faced by both defendants in defending the claim.
The ability of a claimant to bring a claim many years after abuse occurred is an issue which remains contentious and has again been the subject of recent judicial determination.
In the case of GH v (1) The Catholic Child Welfare Society (Diocese of Middlesbrough) , His Honour Judge Gosnell concluded that when determining the court’s authority to exercise its discretion under s33 of the Limitation Act 1980, moral culpability of a defendant’s alleged actions should not be taken into consideration.
As the IICSA confirms the initial hearing dates for the first public hearings which form part of the investigation in to the Protection of Children Outside of the UK, the High Court has handed down a judgment which is linked to this issue as it addresses limitation when abuse has occurred overseas.
In the case of KXL and others the High Court rejected the claims and the claimants’ contentions that the Foreign Limitation Provisions Act 1984 (FLPA) conflicts with public policy and/or causes undue hardship to claimants because there is no discretionary power to extend the time limit in a historical abuse claim.
As we reported on this blog on 1 September 2016, the original remit of the Scottish Inquiry excludes non-State institutions. We mentioned, in that blog, that pressure was building for the scope of the Inquiry’s remit to be extended.
Today, in the Scottish Parliament, a Ministerial Statement has been made by way of an “Update on issues relating to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry”. That Statement can be considered in four parts: