In YAH v Medway NHS Foundation Trust [2018] EWHC 2964, the Court had to consider two live questions:

  1. In circumstances where the Defendant had admitted negligent delay in delivery of a baby who had suffered cerebral palsy, the negligence occurring while the baby was still in her mother’s womb, and the Claimant mother went on to suffer psychiatric injury which was contributed to by (a) the traumatic labour, (b) her first sight of her baby around 12 hours later and (c) the stresses of caring for a child with cerebral palsy, did the mother fall to be classed as a primary victim or a secondary victim for the purpose of determining liability?
  2. If she was to be classed as a primary victim, did she need to prove that “shock” or “a truly shocking and horrifying event” caused or materially contributed to her injury?

Having considered numerous authorities, not least the speeches of the majority in Page v Smith [1996] 1 AC 155, Mrs Justice Whipple had little hesitation in concluding (a) that the Claimant mother was a primary victim and (b) that she did not need to prove that her injury was caused by “shock”.

The Judge went on (paragraphs 70-80) to reject, in fairly stark terms, the expert opinion of Dr Lesley Faith, the Defendant’s expert psychiatrist, following Richard’s effective cross-examination of her.

Richard Booth QC was instructed by Boyes Turner for the Claimant. You can find the judgement and more details below: