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Stefanie  Johnston

Stefanie Johnston


T:0141 238 0067

Scotland: Justice Committee publishes Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill report

Client Alerts20/04/2017

The Justice Committee has today published its Stage 1 Report in relation to the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill was introduced on 16 November 2016 and seeks to amend the Prescription & Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 by removing the current three year limitation period in actions seeking damages in respect of personal injury where the action relates to abuse when the person who sustained the injuries, and is bringing the action, was a child at the time of the abuse.

The Stage 1 Report on the Bill can be found here.

As you will see, the Executive Summary states that:

  1. “This report sets out the Justice Committee's consideration of the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1.
  2. The Bill removes the limitation period, also known as 'time bar', for civil claims relating to childhood abuse. The Committee supports this approach. It heard powerful evidence that the current limitation regime has created an insurmountable barrier to access to justice for survivors of childhood abuse. Survivors have been let down by the justice system and denied the opportunity to have their voices heard.
  3. The Bill, however, is no panacea and pursuing a civil action will not be the right solution for all survivors. It is important that appropriate support is available for survivors to decide whether to pursue a civil action and, if so, to help them through that process. Further, the Bill will not enable claims to be brought in respect of abuse which took place prior to 1964. The Scottish Government must explore what other options for redress could be made available for this group.
  4. The Committee supports the general principles of the Bill. In addition, this report makes a number of recommendations relating to the more detailed aspects of the Bill, including the definition of abuse and the provisions relating to previously raised cases. The Committee also heard concerns about the potential financial and resource implications of the Bill, which need to be given further consideration. The Committee expects discussion around these matters to continue should the Bill progress further”

Keoghs is well positioned to provide clients with further updates and advice, as David Pugh, Director of Disease Strategy explains:

“Keoghs has successfully helped insurers in legacy claims in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.  Furthermore, Stefanie Johnston, niche insurance and dual-qualified specialist in our Glasgow office, dealt with a large volume of historical abuse claims (involving Group Litigation) in England, when insurers were faced with mass litigation.  We therefore now enjoy the combined expertise of our UK wide offering and are uniquely placed to advise on any issues raised in the draft Bill”.

Keoghs has been informed that a debate will take place in the Chamber at some point next week. We will continue to monitor publications from the Scottish Parliament as the Bill progresses.

For more information please contact:

Stefanie Johnston
T: 0785 065 4989

Douglas Cowan
T: 0797 145 1010