Jane Peckham represented East Sussex County Council in defence of a claim in negligence and breach of statutory duty brought by Mr Michael Cleary, a supply teacher in the east of the county.

Mr Cleary originally sought damages of over £91,000, which he later revised. The claim for damages included an award for general damages for a tear to a tendon in his shoulder and loss of earnings of about 12 months.

In summary, Mr Cleary alleged that East Sussex County Council, as the educational authority, failed to train him as to suitable methods of tackling disruptive pupils; not informing him of excluded pupils and failing to ensure that he was safe whilst teaching at the school. Mr Cleary alleged that he was injured as a result of a pupil making physical contact with him, which he said caused him to fall to the ground and sustain injury.

The Judge found that the local authority had not failed in its duty to Mr Cleary. Mr Cleary had put himself in danger and that it was an unfortunate accident, which could not have been foreseen. The claim was dismissed.

Mr Cleary sought permission to appeal, which was refused. He was ordered to pay the local authority’s costs of £15,500.