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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Lucy Garcia

Humza Yousaf's wife drops legal action against nursery

HUMZA Yousaf's wife Nadia El-Nakla has dropped her legal case against a Scottish nursery.

The centre was being sued by El-Nakla for £30,000 in damages for alleged discrimination against their daughter.

However, the nursery announced today that the action, which began in November 2021, had been dropped.

Usha Fowdar, owner of Little Scholars Day Nursery in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, said: “Whilst we were 100% prepared to see Ms El-Nakla in court, we are extremely pleased that this baseless legal action has been terminated."

El-Nakla's lawyer disputed this assertion, saying the decision to drop the action was agreed by both parties. 

Fowdar added: "It bears repeating that, despite some extremely misleading headlines and spurious allegations, the Care Inspectorate identified administrative processes for improvement which had nothing to do with discrimination, because there never was any discrimination. Any attempt to twist this fact should be called out for what it is.

“Ms El-Nakla has, very sensibly, opted to drop her legal action in the face of our determination to defend ourselves and our hard-working employees.

“While I’m pleased our employees will be spared the stress of appearing as witnesses, in one sense I’m also disappointed, as the court case would have been extremely revealing and I’m utterly confident we would have prevailed. 

"Despite this vindication, it has been deeply upsetting to have spent almost 18 months and tens of thousands of pounds defending our small nursery against their false claims.

“It beggars belief that, rather than pick up the phone to quickly resolve what was a simple misunderstanding, they colluded in a half-baked sting operation and then mounted a vicious and cynical campaign against us in the national media. What sort of people do that?”

The couple made a formal complaint about Little Scholars Day Nursery in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, after their daughter Amal failed to get a place.

Little Scholars claimed the allegations of discrimination were “demonstrably false”.

An investigation by the Care Inspectorate found the nursery “did not promote fairness, equality and respect when offering placements”.

It was ordered to introduce "consistent and robust" systems to manage admissions requests after a complaint was upheld.

A statement jointly agreed by Yousaf and his wife, and by the nursery, made clear that the changes put forward by the Care Inspectorate had been “implemented in full”.

It read: "Following discussions, parties have agreed to bring an end to these proceedings. No legal expenses will be paid by either party to the other.

"Sword Nursery Ltd acknowledges the previous findings of the Care Inspectorate identifying administrative changes necessary to manage admission requests in a more transparent and equitable manner.

"Those changes have been implemented in full. As a result of court proceedings being halted parties can confirm there has been and will be no judicial finding against either party."

Solicitor Aamer Anwar, who had acted for the couple, said that ending the action had been a “tough decision” but said that as parents they “believe it’s the right one”.

Anwar stated: “Nadia and Humza, first and foremost, are loving parents who like any others would do anything to protect their children.

“They only ever wanted the nursery to accept the findings of the Independent Care Inspectorate investigation and for the nursery to make changes.

“The nursery owner’s may wish to say that they were prepared 100% to go to court, but this was a joint agreement reached and on their acknowledgement of the findings of an independent investigation and implementing the necessary changes in full.”

The lawyer continued: “The nursery by their own admission have acknowledged changes were required to make the admissions process more “transparent and equitable” and that is the very least any young child is entitled to expect from an educational establishment in Scotland, no matter who their parent is or whatever their background.

“Nadia believes that as a mother she was justified in raising this legal action – she felt deeply hurt and hopes that as a result real change will take place.

“The matter is now at end and there will be no further comment.”

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