On 28 May 2019, MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament), overwhelmingly backed a bill to ban the smacking of children.
The bill had been put forward by Green MSP John Finnie and was designed to give children the same legal protections from assault as adults.
MSPs approved the bill by by 80 votes to 29. The Conservatives voted against the bill.
Some opponents to the bill argued that it interfered with family life and could see parents prosecuted for disciplining their children.
The bill will now go before a committee at Holyrood to be considered in more detail. The draft legislation will go before MSPs again before it is passed into law.
Family Law Inverness commented, “Currently in Scotland, parents are able to claim a defence of “justifiable assault” when smacking their child. However, the use of an “implement” in any punishment is banned, as is shaking or striking a child on the head. The bill would end that defence, meaning Scottish parents could face prosecution for smacking their children. There have been huge changes in society and people have been campaigning for many years for Scotland’s law makers to ban smacking. “
Lawyers have welcomed the government’s planned introduction of no fault divorce.
Under current laws, in order to get a divorce, you must meet the following criteria:
- you’ve been married for over a year
- your relationship has permanently broken down
- your marriage is legally recognised in the UK (including same-sex marriage)
- the UK is your permanent home, or the permanent home of your husband or wife
The five current grounds for divorce are:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Separation for at least 2 years
- Separation for at least 5 years
This means that if a separating couple want to divorce and neither of them wishes to admit blame, they must live apart for two years. If one spouse does not agree to ending the marriage, they must live apart for five years before a divorce is granted.
The government has proposed to introduce no fault divorce. It is hoped that this will allow separating couples to part in a way that reduces pain, stress and conflict for families.
A spokesperson from Cardiff Family Lawyers commented, “It is encouraging to see that the government is finally taking action to overhaul this outdated aspect of family law. It many cases, forcing either party to admit to fault can make an already difficult and tense time even more painful for families. The introduction of no fault divorce should help to reduce conflicts in divorce, especially when there are children involved.”