Thompsons Solicitors Scotland is representing survivors of historical sexual abuse as they launch an "unprecedented" legal claim against Celtic Football Club.
A number of survivors who suffered sexual abuse while playing for Celtic Boys' Club in the 1970s, 80s and 90s are mounting the US-style "class action" lawsuit under new Scottish laws. The claim will see the survivors form a group which will bring one action in the Court of Session because their claims are similar.
Celtic sexual abuse test cases
In June 2021, Thompsons brought two 'test cases' against Celtic in connection with historical child abuse following the successful criminal convictions of Celtic Boys' Club founder Jim Torbett and former youth coaches Frank Cairney and Jim McCafferty on sexual abuse charges. Police are also investigating further allegations of abuse made against other former boys' club staff.
In relation to the civil claim against Celtic, representatives of the club have maintained that Celtic was a separate entity from Celtic Boys' Club and they have so far failed to acknowledge any liability for the dreadful suffering of the boys.
Patrick McGuire, partner at Thompsons, has been vociferous in his fight for justice for the survivors.
He told the Daily Record that the launching of the group action was "completely unique".
He added, "I know of no other similar group actions, or involving such a large number of claimants, against any other club in Europe.
"I hope this is a wake-up call for Celtic and they decide to face up to their responsibilities instead of rubbing salt in the wounds of survivors."
Representatives of the football club have gone on record saying that the club is "appalled by any form of historical abuse" but maintain that it is a "separate entity" to the boys' club and therefore not liable for any actions of those involved with the youth team.
Group proceedings for historical sexual abuse at Celtic Boys' Club
Patrick McGuire will lead the group action against Celtic FC and is urging other survivors to come forward and speak to Thompsons' dedicated Survivors Team about any abuse they suffered.
Patrick says that Celtic's denial of any involvement with the youth team raises high level issues of fact and law that, once established, will apply to all of those who survived abuse at Celtic Boys' Club.
This means that rather than having 20, 50 or 100 individual cases looking at a legal connection between the football club and the boys' club, there will be one single action so the case can be advanced as efficiently and quickly as possible. The group action will also give the survivors strength in numbers.
Thompsons believes that there are many more survivors who have not yet come forward and it is hoped that the move towards a group action will give anyone who was sexually abused at the boy's club the reassurance to come forward.
If the claim is upheld, the judge could award individual compensation payouts to survivors; in total this could be many millions of pounds.
Join the group action against Celtic with Thompsons
Thompsons dedicated Survivors Team is committed to working with and representing the interests of survivors of sexual, physical and mental abuse.
The Survivors Team are all trauma-trained and will handle all contact in confidence and with the utmost sensitivity. Find out more about how we will handle your enquiry on our Historical Abuse Claims Process page.
Talk to Thompsons in confidence today on 0800 0891 331 or text CLAIM to 78866. Alternatively, you can fill in our online claim form by clicking on the button below.