The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has just handed down its unanimous judgment on the appeal against the Scottish High Court appeal judgment which had been in favour of the Scottish Government in relation to Part 4 of the Children and Young People [Scotland] Act of 2014.
The Supreme Court did not unhold the broad appeal on the basis of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights [ECHR] – but it has upheld the narrower appeal on Article 8 which relates to the information sharing provisions in Part 4 of the Act.
It found that, iunder Article 8 of ECHR the interests to be protected include the right to family life and to the privacy of that life – and that this right requires the protection of the state.
The High Court judges spoke of the need not to ‘standardise children’.
They found that the provisions of Part 4 of the Act ‘interfere’ with the Data Protection Act’s measures in the sharing of data.
They found that the information sharing provisions of Part 4 of the Act and its statutory guidance are not in accordance with the law.
Their two conclusions are that:
- the information sharing provisions of Part 4 of the Children and Young People [Scotland] Act are incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights;
- and that these provisions may disproportionately interfere with rights under Article 8.
They therefore found that the information sharing provisions of the 2014 Act ‘are not within the powers of the Scottish Parliament’.
The Scottish Parliament has been given 42 days to lodge with the Supreme Court any proposals it may wish to make to amend the information sharing provisions of the 2014 Act.
This ruling must mean the immediate cessation of the raft of pilot introductions of the Named Person provision implemented in councils across Scotland with the encouragement of the Scottish Government. These will now be challengeable at law.