Lawyer says Celtic compensation claim should focus on club’s ‘liability’

A lawyer says a compensation claim against Celtic should focus on whether the club should be held “liable” for sexual abuse by former youth players.

Barrister Preston Lloyd told Judge Lord Arthurson on Monday (September 26) that the proceedings should focus on whether the club itself was responsible for historic abuses of former Celtic Boys Club players.

Mr Lloyd is acting for more than 20 former youth team players, who cannot be named for legal reasons. They are asking for compensation from the current Scottish Premiership champions.

They claim Parkhead club bosses did not do enough to prevent them from being abused while playing for the boys’ club teams in the 1970s and 1980s.

Celtic’s lawyers believe the case should not continue. The court heard the club believed they would not get a ‘fair hearing’.

This was because documents were missing which would be essential to their case that their boys club and Celtic FC were different entities.

Survivors of Boys Club abuse have been given the green light to sue Celtic FC.

On Monday, Mr Lloyd addressed the virtual hearing at the Court of Session alongside Roddy Dunlop KC, the Dean of the Faculty of Solicitors, who acts for Celtic.

Mr Lloyd said: ‘As to research further down the line, my lord, the position is that a proof on the issues of limitation alone is something impossible and the best would be to have proof on control issues and whether or not it’s not fair that Celtic should be blamed.

“Any such evidence defenders can make their case on limitation issues, but as the Dean of the Faculty has indicated, this may not be the day for a full discussion at this time. subject if the parties agree on an adjustment period.”

An estimated 25 victims of historic abuse at Celtic Boys Club have come forward to mount the ‘super case’ using new powers under Scottish law. The men’s lawyers are hoping more former Boys Club players will come forward.

They have brought “class action” against Celtic FC PLC – the procedure is similar to class action litigation in the United States.

At an earlier hearing, Ian Mackay KC managed to get permission from Lord Arthurson for the case to go to court.

Mr Mackay said the evidence showed the two entities were linked – a claim denied by the Hoops.

Mr Mackay said: “Celtic Boys Club was intimately linked to Celtic Football Club – it was branded as being closely linked to Celtic Football Club.

“The players played in Celtic kits and wore blazers virtually identical to those worn by Celtic FC players.

“The football kit, tote bags and training equipment have been provided by Celtic Football Club.

Celtic lawyer Roddy Dunlop KC has told Lord Arthurson the action should not be allowed to continue.

He said his clients believed they would not get a “fair trial” because documents that would be key to their case that their boys’ club and Celtic FC were different entities were missing.

On Monday, the two lawyers requested additional time to prepare their cases.

Lord Arthurson agreed and set a future procedural hearing to take place in the case on December 19, 2022.

He added: ‘I think this case is very likely to result in evidence on soft issues that will encompass prejudice, a fair trial and it may encompass other issues related to vicarious liability.’

Jon J. Epps