On Wednesday 10 February 2021 the Education and Skills committee at the Scottish Parliament will start to consider proposed amendments to the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill.
In total, 107 amendments have so far been proposed. Further amendments could be proposed both during the current Stage 2 of the Scottish legislative process and also during the final third stage. Amendments made during Stage 2 could even be overturned by amendments at Stage 3. As is often the case, Stage 2 is being undertaken at committee level rather than by the Scottish Parliament sitting as a whole in chamber. Assuming that the bill proceeds to Stage 3, the parliament as a whole would consider and vote on any further proposed amendments before debating and deciding whether to pass the bill.
On 9 December 2020, the Education and Skills Committee at the Scottish Parliament published a 127 page report on the Scottish in-care redress bill after hearing evidence over a number of sessions (link here). The Scottish Parliament, sitting in chamber, will debate and vote on the general principles of this bill on 17 December 2020.
In our last blog we looked at the general overarching principles of the proposed statutory financial redress scheme (“the Scheme”) in Scotland.
In today’s blog we intend to look at the proposed redress payments, what evidence will be required and how the redress payable will be assessed.
It is the Scottish Government’s intention that the Scheme will provide for a combination payment approach which could have two possible stages much like the Lambeth Redress Scheme.
The third and final legislative stage of the Bill to retrospectively abolish limitation for cases of personal injury arising from childhood abuse took place in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 22 June 2017.
A proposed amendment to require Scottish Ministers to prepare a financial report on the likely impact on public bodies and their ability to meet any obligations arising from the retrospective provisions of the Bill was rejected.
Following that rejection, the Bill was unanimously passed. Royal Assent to the Bill is now anticipated, whereupon it will become an Act of the Scottish Parliament. Its provisions will thereafter come into force by way of Scottish ministerial regulations.
Frank Hughes and Siobhan Kelly, partners, BLM
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.
The Scottish Parliament has confirmed that it will debate the Limitation Abolition Bill, at Stage 1, in the afternoon of Thursday 27 April.
In other news, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, whose cost from its set-up on 1 October 2015 to 31 March 2017 has recently been confirmed at over £5.7m, has now set the timetable for Phase 1 of its Public Hearings. Commencing on 31 May there are evidence sessions scheduled to 9 June covering: Continue reading
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
The third, and final, evidence session on the Bill to retrospectively abolish limitation in cases of childhood abuse took place today before the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament.
The Scottish Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Annabelle Ewing MSP, gave evidence. We summarise that as follows:
Background to the Bill
The Minister explained that various reform options were considered before the present Bill was drafted. Those included: giving guidance on the exercise of judicial discretion to allow a claim to proceed though raised late; the extension of the limitation period; and even wholesale abolition of limitation. It was ultimately decided that the present Bill was the most proportionate way to proceed to meet the specific aim of improving access to justice for survivors.