A claim has been brought against the Home Office by a woman known as ‘GB’, who was prescribed an anti-malarial drug whilst in immigration detention at Yarl’s Wood. It is alleged that the drug was negligently prescribed, and has caused her a long-term psychotic illness.
It was argued on behalf of GB that the Home Office owed her a non-delegable duty of care. The Home Office contended that they were not liable for the acts of independent contractors; neither Serco who ran the detention facility, nor the doctor providing healthcare there. It was also said that the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 operated to bar the claim against the Government. Mr Justice Coulson determined these points as preliminary issues in a decision recently handed down. He found that the Home Office owed a non-delegable duty, and that the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 did not prevent the claim. The case is significant as an application of the recent Supreme Court guidance in Woodland v Swimming Teachers Association (2014) as to the circumstances in which a non-delegable duty will be owed. Angus McCullough QC, appearing with Michelle Knorr of Doughty Street Chambers, acted for the Claimant.