Celtic seeking settlement over boys club historical sex abuse case, lawyers say

By Laura Paterson, PA Scotland

Celtic FC is seeking to settle legal claims over historical sex abuse, a law firm acting for the claimants has said.

Solicitors acting for 22 former Celtic Boys Club players said Celtic has “indicated their intention to enter settlement negotiations” but has not admitted liability.

Celtic has been contacted for comment.

The case relates to abuse at the youth club – which was not formally affiliated with Celtic FC – by convicted paedophiles James Torbett and Frank Cairney.


In a statement, the firm told STV News: “Thompsons Solicitors are pleased to confirm that Celtic Plc have indicated their intention to enter settlement negotiations within the context of the Celtic group proceedings litigation.

“This litigation relates to cases of historical abuse at Celtic Boys Club by convicted paedophiles James Torbett and Frank Cairney.

“Celtic Plc have not formally admitted liability or made any other formal concessions but their desire to now enter negotiations to explore the possibility of a settlement of this action has been made clear.

“This means that parties will ask the court to adjourn the forthcoming proof to allow work to be undertaken to value individual cases.

“We appreciate that there has been significant public interest in this action and hope that this comment clarifies the current situation.”

Court of Session
The case was brought at the Court of Session in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA) Photo by Jane Barlow

A judge gave the go-ahead for the group legal action at Scotland’s highest civil court, the Court of Session in Edinburgh, last year.

The club had argued in court that the action should not be allowed to proceed, arguing the boys club was an entirely separate entity, but judge Lord Arthurson ruled the case could go ahead.

The club has previously said it is “appalled by any form of historic abuse”.

Group proceedings are similar to US class action style actions and were brought into law in Scotland in 2020.