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Scotland and state guardians

March 2014

A leading human rights lawyer has said that Alex Salmond’s proposals for a state guardian for every child in Scotland are unlawful.

Aidan O’Neill QC said that the Scottish National Party’s plans to appoint a state guardian was ‘unjustified interference’ and could conflict with families’ basic human rights.

Mr O’Neill said that the proposal appeared ‘to be predicated on the idea that the proper primary relationship that children will have for their well-being and development, nurturing and education is with the state rather than within their families and with their parents’.

He went on to say that the scheme may not be compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which says the state should respect private and family life.

Colin Hart, director of Christian advocacy group Christian Institute, gained the legal opinion from Mr O’Neill. Mr Hart described the Scottish Bill as a ‘monumental attack on orthodox family life’.

Under the Bill, the state guardian would be able to share information with a wide range of public authorities and intervene without parental consent.


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