Named person opponents to take fight to Supreme Court

Opponents of the Scottish government’s plans to appoint a named guardian to every child in the country are to take their fight to the Supreme Court next year after they failed in the Court of Session.

The No To Named Persons (NO2NP) group’s case will be heard by the court in March 2016.

Under the measure, found in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, every child under 18 would be assigned a “named person” who would look out for their welfare.

But NO2NP argued ministers acted beyond their powers and are in breach of data protection legislation as well as parents’ Convention rights.

However, a judge in the Court of Session refused the group’s petition for judicial review in January.

Campaign spokesman, Simon Calvert, said: “The right to a family life unhindered by state interference is of such vital importance that we feel we have no option but to bring the matter before the Supreme Court.

“Fundamental issues are at stake here for families across Scotland, and it is right that we use all the legal measures at our disposal to stand up for those families and their right to a private life.”

He added: “Mums and dads must be allowed to bring up their children as they see fit and not according to government checklists.”

The basis of the appeal will be that the Court of Session erred in its consideration of article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights as well as its interpretation of data protection law and of the Scotland Act 1998and the question whether the Scottish government had acted ultra vires.

Mr Calvert said: “We do not believe that the judges engaged properly with the arguments we put forward, so we are taking them to the Supreme Court.

“Ultimately we may even have to go to Europe. The judgment states that a named person is unable to interfere in family life but merely able to make ‘an offer of help, which may simply be rejected’.

“But the legislation gives a named person broad powers to interfere without parental consent.

“Ordinary mums and dads, doing their best to bring up their families, have been at the forefront of this challenge to state-sponsored authoritarian legislation which undoubtedly will reduce some parents to the role of helpless spectators in the lives of their children.”

A spokesman for the Scottish government said: “Twice this year, the courts have rejected this petition and ruled that the legislation covering the Named Person does not contravene ECHR rights or EU law.

“Both rulings found the policy was informed by experts in child welfare, health and education with the intention of putting the best interests of the child at the heart of decision-making.

“The named person role was introduced to provide a single point of contact for families and builds on the supportive role that teachers and health professionals have long offered to children, young people and parents.”