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Family Lawyers commented, “It is encouraging to see that the government is finally taking action to overhaul this outdated aspect of family law.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.”
It has been reported that a child has died in an accident at Drayton Manor theme park in Staffordshire.
The 11-year-old schoolgirl was on a trip with classmates when she fell from the Splash Canyon ride at the theme park.
Police and HSE have launched an investigation into how such a tragic accident could occur.
A spokesperson from Personal Injury Lawyers Cardiff has commented, “Incidents like this are tragic and although theme parks have many safety provisions in place, sadly accidents like this do happen.”
This incident follows other high profile theme park accidents such as the accident on The Smiler ride at Alton Towers. In this accident, 16 people were left suspended in the air and 4 people were left seriously injured. One of the girls involved had her leg amputated following the accident.
Theme parks have high safety standards, but recent incidents have shown that tragic accidents can happen.
The SNP’s controversial Named Person Scheme has been ruled unlawful by the UK’s Supreme Court.
The Scottish National Party introduced this policy with the aims of giving every child in Scotland a ‘named person’ who would be available to help and advise the child. The Scottish government argued that having designated person would help families address problems before they became more serious.
The named person would also act as a liaison between the family and government services such as the health service, bereavement counseling and speech and language services.
However, many people have argued that the Named Person Scheme is an unnecessary state intrusion into private family lives and may even be incompatible with EU law.
Since the scheme was announced, many bodies have voiced concerns with the policy, and the campaign group No to Named Person was set up. This organisation argues that the scheme will intrude upon parent’s responsibilities and decision making for their own children.
Their main concerns include undermining family privacy; the fact the scheme is compulsory for every child in Scotland and that the scheme facilitate state intervention when there is no risk of harm only concerns about a child’s “happiness”.
The UK Supreme Court ruled that aspects of the scheme were incompatible with EU law. The ways of sharing information between named persons and other bodies were ruled unlawful.
However, despite the ruling, this is not necessarily the end for the Named Person Scheme. The Scottish Government have vowed to start work on addressing the non-compliant aspects of the scheme so that the policy can be introduced.
The BBC has reported that the European Court of Justice has backed the UK government’s stance on the right that EU migrant children have to claim benefits.
The UK government argued that EU migrants in the UK who are not working should not be entitled to benefits if they did not have the right to stay in the UK. This view was supported by the European Court of Justice who ruled that the measure was lawful on the grounds of protecting public finances.
The European Court of Justice’s decision was met by differing reactions. Vote Leave, the official campaign for the UK to leave the European Union, argued that the UK should not have to seek verification of a domestic benefits policy by the European institutions and many backed the court’s decision.
On the other hand, many people believe that the UK government should be doing all that they can to help the migrants who come to the UK.
It is estimated that in the year ending 2015, total net migration to the UK was 330,000.
Europe is in the midst of a migration crisis. In 2015, over 350,000 Syrian nationals applied for refuge in the EU. The numbers seeking refugee status from Syria were almost double that of any other nation. The war in Syria is the main driving force behind this as people risk all to make the other life threatening journey to Europe.
Children and mothers with young babies are of particular concern. Many children travel alone and international aid organisations are worried about the safety and well being of these children once they reach Europe.
For this reason, many believe that the UK should be allowing more migrant children to come to the UK. Many people also believe that the UK should help to ensure the well being of economically inactive EU national families by allowing them to claim benefits.