Thompsons Solicitors are Scotland’s leading law firm helping survivors of historic sexual and physical abuse. The law was recently changed in Scotland to allow survivors of abuse to pursue compensation from those responsible for that abuse. Thompsons work with the county’s leading survivors charities to provide the most comprehensive support possible. Our lawyers are highly trained and provide a completely confidential service through our dedicated historic abuse helpline.
We currently represent many survivors who suffered abuse in a variety of circumstances from in-care institutions, religious organisations and sports clubs. If this is an issue that has affected you or someone you know please call us in confidence now on 0800 0891 331.
Thompsons in the News
Glasgow Evening Times - 08 September 2021
Fornethy House survivors take to Glasgow's George Square in calls for justice
Reporting on the recent George Square protest carried out by members of The Fornethy House Residential School Survivors group, the Glasgow Evening Times posts images of the day and interviews with those who took part. The action sought to highlight the plight of survivors and their calls for justice. It followed recent revelations that many women have since found all records of their time at Fornethy House have disappeared.
Thompsons Partner Laura Conner, who is acting on behalf of around 130 Fornethy abuse survivors, attended the demonstration. She said, “I find it impossible to believe that there is nothing within any records at the council in relation to why [the girls] were placed [in Fornethy House].
“One of the points that is most important to many survivors is understanding why they were there and understanding that is part of their journey to attempting to deal with the traumatic events which occurred and the illnesses they continue to suffer as a result.”
STV News – 08 September 2021
Sexual abuse survivors accuse council of losing records
STV News reports on the protest carried out by the The Fornethy House Residential School Survivors group and includes an interview with one of the group's founders, Marion Reid.
Marion told reporters, “I’ve fought this all my life, basically looking for answers. We have now got to the point where we know there are records somewhere, but Glasgow Council are not forthcoming with any documents of any kind.”
Laura Connor, a partner with Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland who heads the firm’s historic abuse unit, attended the protest. She said, “We’re fully behind all of those protesting. They have a right to be heard.
“Glasgow City Council should take notice of such a large number of survivors of abuse who were harmed while under the council’s care.”
Daily Record - 29 August 2021
As complaints emerge that the personal records of former Fornethy House residents are incomplete or missing, Laura Connor from Thompsons says that the situation is “not good enough”.
Laura is representing more than 130 abuse survivors in their claims against Glasgow City Council for the treatment they suffered during stays at the school. She has called upon the local authority to meet with Thompsons so that the matter can be resolved. She adds, “We’re fully behind all of those protesting to be heard.”
The missing records are hampering the progression of the historic abuse cases and Marion Reid, co-founder of the group Fornethy House Residential School Survivors, believes it is allowing the council to "wriggle away from any responsibility." Members of the group are planning a protest to be held outside Glasgow City Council in September.
As the Crown Office conducts a U-turn over their stance relating to an 82-year-old alleged abuser, which means extradition proceedings can now commence, the man’s accusers say that while it is undoubtedly good news, the whole situation has left a “bitter taste” because there has been no apology from the Crown or acknowledgement of the errors made.
The former Fettes teacher is currently living in South Africa and the Crown Office had previously held that he could not be extradited due to a time-bar on some historic cases in the jurisdiction. However, working alongside Thompsons solicitors and journalists, the former pupils researched the law in South Africa and found there was no such time-bar.
Laura Connor, of Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland, represents some of the former pupils. She says, “The Crown's decision to now apply for extradition for an accused serial sex offender is very welcome, but serious questions must be asked about why this didn't happen months ago.”
BBC News – 8 July 2021
The Borders teacher convicted of five assault charges and a further charge of threatening or abusive behaviour against young pupils in her care, has been sentenced by Edinburgh Sheriff Court to 150 hours of unpaid community work.
Marina Urie, a senior lawyer at Thompsons in Scotland who is representing families of pupils in their civil claims against the council for their part in the matter, said the public would be "aghast" that the teacher had received a community sentence.
BBC News – 27th May 2021
Inquiry over Borders Council handling of teacher abuse case
Following the guilty verdict in the case of a teacher accused of assaulting five school pupils between August 2016 and October 2017, Scottish Borders Council has announced an independent inquiry into its handling of complaints about Linda McCall.
Parents who complained about the former teacher previously accused the council of attempting a “cover up” and have welcomed the review, while Thompsons Solicitors’ Marina Urie, who is representing the families, said the announcement was a “very welcome development”.
The Daily Record - 16th May 2021
Scots gran 'trafficked for sexual abuse at Glasgow all girls school aged 8'
A former Fornethy House resident has come forward to tell of the harrowing sexual assault and beatings she was subjected to while under the care of the all-girls residential school in 1964. She told the Daily Record about being taken to ‘parties’ with other girls where men would touch them inappropriately. At least one other survivor has corroborated Janis Brown’s claims about being ‘trafficked’ out to parties.
Janis says despite attempting to block out the abuse for many years, it has left an indelible and detrimental mark on her life.
Now 65, Janis is one of more than 130 former residents who are being represented by Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland. Laura Connor, who heads Thompsons’ dedicated Survivors Team, describes the events which occurred at the school as “depraved” and says this new testimony “sheds more light on the horrific regime endured by young girls at Fornethy”.
The Sunday Post – 16th May 2021
“I was sexually abused by an SFA referee on the way home from a match. I was just 17 but they are denying me compensation.”
A former youth footballer has described to the Sunday Post how he was abused by a known paedophile after participating in a football match for trainee referees almost 40 years ago and later attending an Scottish Football Association awards dinner. However, the SFA is refusing to compensate Stuart McMillan, now 59, saying it is not liable because Hugh Stevenson was not on duty at the time the sexual abuse took place – McMillan, who was a schoolboy at the time, had accepted a lift home in the referee’s car.
Patrick McGuire, partner at Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland, is representing a number of survivors who were abused in various situations connected to football. He said, “Sadly, the response by the SFA to Mr McMillan’s case and to those of others has been, despite their own very damning report, to use every possible legal technicality to deny survivors of historic abuse financial justice.”
Patrick, along with a number of other high-profile commentators, has demanded that the SFA “do the right thing” and fully accept liability.
The Border Telegraph – 14th May 2021
Court: Borders teacher assaulted children at primary school
It took the angry and sustained complaints of parents to make sure a 60-year-old teacher was brought to trial after the school insisted attacks on five primary school pupils had not occurred.
Following an earlier Sheriff Court trial in which Linda McCall walked free, at the appeal hearing, the teacher was found guilty of five assault charges and one further charge of threatening or abusive behaviour. The attacks on pupils aged between five and seven occurred across a 14-month period dating back to August 2016.
The families of the children affected are now planning to sue McCall’s employers, Scottish Borders Council, in civil proceedings. Thompsons’ solicitor Marina Urie, who is representing the families in the civil matter, said that her clients welcome the court verdict and see it as “the first positive step on a long road to justice”.
As the Scottish Crown Office faces renewed calls for the extradition from South Africa of a former teacher who is alleged to have sexually abused at least six pupils during the 1970s, Laura Connor, partner at Thompsons, expresses her great concern that the alleged abuser remains “beyond the reach of the justice system”.
She adds, “We urge the Crown Office to do whatever it can to make sure this abuser is held to account before a Scottish court.”
The Crown Office has so far resisted calls to secure the return of the teacher, who is believed to be in his eighties, because they say it would be fraught with delays and uncertainties.
The Daily Record – 4th April 2021
The Scottish Sun – 4th April 2021
The Glasgow Evening Times – 4th April 2021
As a shocking number of survivors have now come forward to speak out about alleged abuse which occurred at Fornethy House in Angus, a spokesperson for Glasgow City Council says the claims are being "actioned".
Thompsons solicitor, Laura Connor, urges the council to meet with her and the Thompsons Survivors Team so that the legal issues can be resolved as swiftly as possible and not "further add to the suffering of the women involved."
The survivors, who all attended the residential school between 1961 and 1993 when the Council ran the girls-only institution, are claiming financial compensation for the abuse which left them with physical and psychological injuries.
However, for many of them, a potential damages award is not the main reason for making the claim. Carol Whyte sums up the survivors' feelings in the Daily Record: "The girls agree on one thing – we want an apology for what happened to us."
Daily Record - 27th September 2020
As more women share their stories of physical and sexual abuse which occurred at Fornethy House residential school, Patrick McGuire, Partner at Thompsons Solicitors, says that the firm's specialist Survivor Team has been contacted by more than 55 former residents in a single week.
“In all the years of Thompsons working on many different abuse cases around Scotland, this is unprecedented.”
BBC Radio Scotland – 21st September
Historic child abuse survivor and Thompsons’ client Marion Reid talks to BBC Radio Scotland's John Beattie about her experiences at Fornethy House. She describes how the abuse which occurred in her early childhood has led to her suffering PTSD and lifelong problems with her physical and mental health.
Marion says that she now wants closure and to be able to move forward with her life.
Daily Record – 20th September 2020
Allegations of historic physical attacks and sexual abuse made against staff members at Fornethy House, a former residential home for girls, have led to a police investigation.
Now, former resident and abuse survivor, Marion Reid has set up group to encourage other survivors to come forward to have their stories heard and to seek the justice they deserve. Many of the women are being represented by Thompsons Solicitors.
The Guardian – 25th June 2020
The Daily Record – 25th June 2020
BBC News – 25th June 2020
STV News - 25th June 2020
As ground-breaking legal action against Celtic Football Club formally commences, Patrick McGuire, partner with Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland, explains his feelings regarding the scandal.
“I have spent much time in the company of men who as children were horribly abused by Celtic and Celtic Boys club employees. Their testimony breaks my heart and as a father myself it makes my blood run cold.
"We are now in a position where Celtic’s management will appear in court to argue that these victims are owed nothing by Celtic. Shame on them."
The case will be heard in the Court of Session in the coming months, with Thompsons representing 25 survivors. Patrick states that these latest legal proceedings are "hugely significant" for survivors of historic child abuse.
The Sunday Post – 5th April 2020
A new inquiry into alleged historic child abuse is being carried out by police at St Aloysius College in Glasgow. A number of claims have been made against the private school but, as of yet, none have led to criminal cases in the courts.
However, Thompsons solicitors are handling the civil claims of several former students. Daniel Canning, who represents the claimants, said, “We are investigating all allegations of abuse and encourage anyone affected to contact us.”
Daily Record - 31st March 2020
Reports suggest that Scottish football clubs involved in alleged historic abuse against children could face decades of legal and court action, and be forced to make compensation pay-outs totalling more than £12million.
Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland are currently handling 50 cases in respect of abuse at Scottish clubs including Celtic FC and Rangers FC, with the clubs facing claims for psychological and physical traumas which, in many cases, have robbed the claimants of certain life chances.
Patrick McGuire, a partner with Thompsons Solicitors, told the Daily Record “Despite the current lockdown due to coronavirus, the wheels of justice still turn and my team of lawyers, working fully from home, continue to progress our football abuse cases as well as all others."
BBC News - 10th January 2020
Thompsons' solicitors are acting in two test cases for former residents of the Lagarie children's home in Rhu, Argyll, a home run by the Sailors' Society between 1949 and 1982.
In 2018, the BBC screened a documentary in which a former chief executive with the Christian charity apologised for abuse that occurred at the home. However, solicitors for the Sailors' Society have not engaged with Thompsons in any meaningful way in respect of justice for the former residents who were abused.
Patrick McGuire, partner with Thompsons Solicitors told the BBC, "What they are doing is forcing every single survivor to give their evidence in court. It's demeaning, it's insulting and it's denigrating to those people who they abused in the first place."
Daily Record – 28th October 2019
Thompson's client, Gordon Woods, has spoken out about the abuse he suffered at the hands of convicted paedophile Jim Torbett during his time as a young player at Celtic Boy's Club. Mr Woods said, "I'm disgusted at Celtic FC's claim that they were separate from the boy's club. That was not my experience. Nothing could be further from the truth."
Patrick McGuire, from Thompsons Solicitors, told the Daily Record, “In telling his story publicly, Mr Woods has shown great courage which should be admired. He, along with all the other survivors from Celtic and Celtic Boys’ Club, want the club to take responsibility for the decades of abuse which happened on their watch and to show respect to those survivors by effecting quick and appropriate settlement of all legal actions.”
BBC News – 17th October 2019
Complaints made by parents about the behaviour of Gordon Neely, a youth coach at Hutcheson Vale, Hibernian and Rangers in the 1980s and 90s, should have led to a police investigation and his sacking, but despite the club's assurances that the matter had been properly dealt with, new evidence has revealed that Neely was able to carry on abusing youngsters at Rangers until further complaints in 1991 led to his dismissal.
A former youth team player at Rangers has now come forward to tell how he was abused by Neely. His lawyer, Daniel Canning from Thompsons, told the BBC: "Our client has shown great courage in coming forward and speaking about his experience as a child at Rangers. Secrecy, misinformation and a failure to take decisive action have always been the circumstances that have allowed child abuse to take place and abusers to continue abusing."
The Herald – 15th September 2019
Nine people have come forward to sue the football clubs linked to former Scottish football scout Harry Dunn and coach Gordon Neely. Both men died before abuse allegations could be heard in Scottish courts.
Laura Conner of Thompsons Solicitors says the "terrible legacy of historic abuse at the heart of Scottish football" is something that "cannot be properly addressed until every club involved acknowledges the wrongs of the past and their responsibility by offering unreserved apologies and financial justice to every survivor".
Daily Record – 17th May 2019
As evidence is uncovered of Celtic FC’s knowledge of abuse claims made against former youth coaches and other “leaders” as far back as the mid-1980s, Patrick McGuire of Thompsons Solicitors says that the new revelations “go further than ever before in disproving the ridiculous assertion that the boys’club and Celtic were separate organisations”. McGuire once again called for an official apology and proper compensation to be made to survivors of historical child abuse at the youth clubs.
DAILY RECORD - 15th May 2019
THE SCOTTISH SUN - 15th May 2019
Patrick McGuire of Thompsons Solicitors explains the relevance of evidence that links the latest former youth football coach jailed for historic child sex abuse, Jim McCafferty, with two "of the most prolific paedophiles in the football setting".
BBC Scotland – 14th May 2019
Sky News – 14th May 2019
As former youth football coach Jim McCafferty was jailed for historic child sex abuse against 10 teenage boys, four of whom played for Celtic Boys Club and the Celtic youth team, Thompsons' solicitor Patrick McGuire says that all eyes are now firmly on the board of Celtic Football Club because McCafferty's connection with the club is "now utterly undeniable".
McGuire has long called for Celtic FC to "do the right thing" in financially compensating survivors of historic child abuse which occurred as a result of involvement with the youth clubs.
THE SCOTTISH SUN - 18th March 2019
Thompsons' historic child abuse solicitor Patrick McGuire has called on Celtic Football Club "to do the right thing by survivors" and take responsibility for its role in child abuse perpetrated at Celtic Boys Club by jailed former staff members Jim Torbett and Frank Cairney.
McGuire says: “The extent of our evidence is growing. If they think we’ll blink and go away they are labouring under an incredible delusion.”
DAILY RECORD - 17th March 2019
Police officers in Canada send details of alleged abuse at St Aloysius' college dating back to the 1950s and a further 13 people contact Thompsons' solicitors in Scotland with more claims of historic abuse at the school. Additional members of staff and the Jesuit order are implicated.
DAILY RECORD - 10th March 2019
BBC - 10th March 2019
HERALD - 10th March 2019
Further survivors of historic school child abuse at St Aloysius' College in Glasgow come forward to make allegations against Jesuit priests and teachers at the prestigious school.
The allegations relate to the time period of the mid-1960s and mid-1980s. Solicitor Patrick McGuire explains how the survivor team at Thompsons can help anyone who has been affected.
DAILY RECORD - 3rd March 2019
BBC - 3rd March 2019
The Herald - 3rd March 2019
As an allegation of historic child abuse at St Aloysius' College in Glasgow triggers a police investigation,
Thompsons' abuse claims solicitor Patrick McGuire asks other survivors to come forward so they can receive confidential advice and support, and assist in the inquiries. The former pupil's shocking claims of systematic abuse over two and a half years by Jesuit priests need corroboration to further the quest for justice.
As the former football coach is jailed for sex offences committed between 1965 and 1986, one survivor speaks out.
Patrick MCGuire, partner at Thompsons Solicitors and legal representative of a number of claimants against Celtic Football Club and Celtic Boys Club, says, “Celtic think they can hide from their moral and legal responsibilities by claiming they were a separate organisation.
"This is a shabby, immoral and insulting position for an organisation like Celtic Football Club to take.”
As Frank Cairney, former football coach at Celtic Boys Club, is jailed for sex offences committed between 1965 and 1986, Patrick McGuire speaks to BBC Radio Scotland about the survivors’ fight for justice.
Survivor who received counselling paid by the Church and received an apology from Archbishop Philip Tartaglia told to prove she was abused in Court.
Alan Rodgers, Partner at Thompsons Solicitors Scotland says “This deeply cynical stance by the Church flies in the face of their public statements about their belief in, & support of, survivors.
Celtic Boys Club beast Jim Torbett 'convinced Celtic to sign victim so abuse could continue' - 10th December 2018
Former youth player and Thompsons' client speaks of abuser's "huge influence" at Celtic Park. Laura Connor partner, says: “The idea that Celtic Boys Club and Celtic FC were not connected is clearly nonsense.
Celtic Boys' Club sex abuse victim says torment carried on when he signed for Parkhead club - 7th December 2018
Thompsons' client, Kenny Campbell talks to the Daily Record on abuse suffered as a youth player at Celtic Football Club. Laura Connor, partner says Celtic Football Club must face up to its responsibilities for those abused under their care.
Mark Daly speaks to Patrick McGuire, partner at Thompsons as he investigates allegations of sexual and physical abuse across four decades at a Christian children's home in Argyll. Mark hears the untold stories of former residents who say they were systematically raped and abused throughout their childhoods by adults who were meant to care for them. Daly challenges the Sailors' Society charity that ran the home on whether it has done enough for those who continue to suffer through the legacy of abuse. BBC One Disclosure - Suffer the Children
Watch Patrick McGuire, partner and Janine Rennie, chief executive of Wellbeing Scotland speak to STV News on legal action against the Scottish Football Association over historic abuse claims.
Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is 'barely scratching the surface - 7th November 2017
Janie Rennie, chief executive of Falkirk-based counselling charity Wellbeing Scotland (formerly Open Secret) advises they are trying to get as many people as possible to come forward, but survivors lack trust in the Scottish Government.
Child sex abuse survivors hold Glasgow rally to highlight atrocities they endured - 7th November 2017
Thompsons attended this event showing support and offering legal advice to survivors about how to get justice through compensation. Lindsay Bruce solicitor in our Historic Abuse Team says “It is important for survivors to get acknowledgement. You tend to find that people are looking for an apology and acceptance for what had happened.”
Janie Rennie, chief executive of Wellbeing Scotland comments on time bar that stopped survivours of historic childhood abuse in Scotland being able to pursue civil damages after three years being abolished.
Campaigners welcome new child abuse bill which will allow more survivors to seek justice - Evening Times 23rd June 2017
In this article Lindsay Bruce, who is a senior lawyer in Thompsons Historic Abuse Unit speaks with the evening times as she campaigns in central Glasgow to encourage more survivors of abuse to come forward. Many survivors feel very strongly that the Scottish Government and police have greatly underestimated how many victims of historic abuse have still to come forward. One of the key campaigns that Thompsons is involved with is encouraging more survivors to come forward by offering advice and contacts with other survivors and support charities.
MSPs approve scrapping of time bar on child abuse legal action - Evening Times 22nd June 2017
Lindsay Bruce a senior lawyer in Thompsons Historic Abuse Unit. Lindsay is dedicated to helping survivors with all aspects of their legal claims and regularly attends events and conferences to speak with survivors and their families. In this interview Lindsay speaks with the Evening Times as the Scottish Parliament changes the law to allow survivors to pursue civil compensation claims against their abusers. Lindsay makes clear what a landmark change this is and how long and hard people have fought for it.
Scottish child abuse inquiry hears apologises over 'deplorable' attacks - BBC News 31st May 2017
Patrick McGuire, pictured on the left, is the partner in charge of Thompsons Historic Abuse Unit. He joined survivors outside the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in Edinburgh as they held a vigil for all survivors. Patrick had long worked with survivors to press for this inquiry and also for the change in the law to allow compensation claims to be pursued. As a firm Thompsons are committed not just to helping victims with legal claims but also with campaigning work to raise with the authorities issues that survivors face.
Chief executive of Wellbeing Scotland, Janine Rennie speaks to the Daily Record on lack of police action over child abuse claims. Janine advises that information and names were passed to police, there were several witnesses but no convictions.
Wellbeing Scotland sets up helpline to give survivors a chance to confidentially name the person or people who abused them. The helpline is for anyone who has suffered historic abuse.
Details of three child sex abuse rings handed to police in wake of football scandal - 11th December 2016
Scottish child abuse charity met with police and told officers about three paedophile rings operating in central Scotland in the 1970s. The charity uncovered some 367 people who suffered multiple abuse mainly in the Falkirk area.
Janine Rennie from Open Secret speaks to The Times with regards to evidence on a paedophile ring in central Scotland during the 1970s. 350 men and women in Falkirk have reported that they had been sexually abused by different people when they were children.
Charities that support survivors of historic abuse say "you have to think about the human impact on everybody who's involved in abuse"
Tommy Harley from Voice Within tells his story to senior Journalist Laura Maciver on the BBC radio lunchtime programme.
Tommy responded to a report about historic abuse at football clubs where a Thompsons client was also involved.
On Wednesday 4th October 2017 the time bar preventing survivors of historic abuse taking civil legal action was finally lifted. Patrick McGuire speaks to BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme to discuss the implications for survivors.
The Partner in charge of the Thompsons Historic Sex Abuse Unit, Patrick McGuire, speaks with BBC Scotland’s John Beattie about compensation claims for survivors. Patrick is one of Scotland’s most accomplished and best known solicitors. He has an unsurpassed track record in representing victims who have been ignored by the authorities and other law firms. Patrick works with the country’s leading abuse charities and not only represents hundreds of survivors but helps campaign for greater recognition and help for victims. This interview was record shortly before the law in Scotland was changed to allow survivors to pursue compensation from those responsible for the abuse.