Justice Committee looking at Childhood Abuse Bill


The three-year time limit that prevents childhood abuse survivors from seeking civil damages in court is the focus of a call for evidence issued by MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee.

The evidence received will inform the Committee’s scrutiny of the Limitations (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill. The legislation proposes removing the current three year time bar which limits the period an individual has to bring forward a civil personal injury damages claim in cases of childhood abuse.

The Justice Committee is hoping to hear from a wide range of people and stakeholder organisations. These include abuse survivors and their representative bodies, care providers and legal experts.

Committee Convener, Margaret Mitchell MSP, said:

“This Bill is undoubtedly a very sensitive piece of legislation which the Committee will scrutinise to assess the impact on the people who it may affect. While the Justice Committee is supportive of access to justice, we need to be certain these proposals are fit for purpose.

“We want to understand the practicalities and to hear different perspectives on these proposals, so we hope we will get pertinent submissions and testimonies.”

In particular, the committee is looking to hear:

  • If there is a consensus with the idea of removing the time bar;
  • The expected impact on survivors of childhood abuse, those who might be involved in defending civil actions, and the courts;
  • Whether people agree with the Government’s definitions of “child” and “abuse”;
  • Views on the proposed ability to raise claims that were previously time-barred.

The call for evidence closes on Wednesday 11 January 2017.


This Scottish Government Bill was introduced by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP, on 16 November 2016. It is available online: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/102163.aspx

The Bill does not alter or affect the substantive law which applies to childhood abuse cases.

A clip of The Convener is available on youtube: https://youtu.be/WUCu_3MpjLc



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