It was with depressing, unsurprising and complete and utter inevitability that I read the submission of the insurance industry to the Scottish Parliament in relation to the Bill to remove time bar for victims of historical abuse.
I have blogged on the need for a change in the law in this area in the past (Justice delayed is Justice denied). To describe the law on time bar as it applies to victims of historical abuse as an anachronism is simply too anodyne. It downplays the extent to which the law completely fails the victims. The law is wrong. Plain and simple.
That is why the Scottish Government must be congratulated for the Bill that they are taking forward. They, like every right thinking person in Scottish civil society recognise that the law must change; that the victims of historical abuse must have a right to their day in court; and that no one should be able to hide behind the passage of time to avoiding their obligation to make amends.
The Scottish Government and every right thinking Scottish citizen also recognises that every victim of historical abuse should receive fair and just compensation.
The ultimate cost of that compensation is completely irrelevant. It is recognised that this is about something far bigger than money.
The insurance industry in stark contrast to all of us, have yet again shown their ugly, base and compassionless side yet again. An industry that counts its profit in hundreds of billions, shadowing the GBP of many nations, has decided to get involved in the debate and to argue that the financial cost of the Bill to their industry would be significantly higher than initially thought and, moreover, the passing of the Bill “would undermine legal certainty in Scotland”.
I have no words.
They are of course wrong. The law will be entirely certain – all victims of historical abuse will have their day in court as everyone (except the insurers agree they should) agree the must. The law will also, therefore, be entirely right, just and fair.
What the Association of British Insurers intervention does is undermine the standing of the insurance industry in the eyes of the entire Scottish nation.
Insurers – hang your head in shame.
Blog by Patrick McGuire, Partner