Child Abuse Compensation Law

Selected Cases

  • Court of Appeal dismissed appeal against a refusal to allow the withdrawal of an admission of liability by local authority (2021).
  • AB v Chethams School of Music (2021): limitation period disapplied and school found to be vicariously liable for child sexual abuse.
  • Legal action taken against ex-owners of Butlins by abuse survivor (2021)
  • FZO v Adams and LB of Haringey [2019] EWHC 1286 (QB): highest award for survivor of abuse in the UK.
  • Claim against Douglas Slade by Filipino child abuse survivors (2018): Landmark case thought to be the first where foreign victims of sexual abuse which occurred abroad brought an action against a British National in the UK.
  • (1) LXA (2) BXL v (1) Cynthis Willcox (representative of estate of Edward Willcox, deceased) (2) Cynthia Willcox [2018] EWHC 2256 (QB): The claimants sought damages for personal injuries and other losses against their adoptive parents, the defendants.
  • Birmingham child sex ring (2018): Represented the claimant in their damages claim against social services who failed to protect them from exploitation.
  • IICSA review of forced resettlement schemes for children in Australia and Zimbabwe after WWII.
  • Child Victims of Sexual Abuse in Football (2016): The claims are being considered on behalf of a number of high profile premier league players and others against several football clubs arising out of allegations against scouts and coaches including Barry Bennell.
  • ABC v West Heath 2000 Limited (2015): a school was held vicariously liable for a member of staff who had encouraged a 17 year old pupil to take and send indecent photographs of herself. The case was novel in that the court held such behaviour, which did not involve touching and so was not an assault, to be tortious for the first time.
  • Various Claimants v The Ministry of Justice: claim by hundreds of former residents of Medomsley Detention Centre who suffered abuse.
  • JL v (1) Archbishop George Bowen (2) The Scout Association (2015): The Archbishop of Southwark and The Scout Association were both vicariously liable for sexual abuse perpetrated by a scout chaplain against the Claimant when he was age 16-19. The case concerned limitation, vicarious liability, quantum and the appropriate test to determine whether a sexual relationship should properly be regarded as consensual or tortious.
  • National Westminster Bank Plc v Lucas & 6 Ors [2014] EWCA Civ 1632: successfully opposed an appeal brought by the beneficiaries under Jimmy Savile’s will, who were seeking to set aside a redress scheme established to enable Savile’s victims to be compensated.
  • Various claimants v A Missionary Order (2013): successfully represented many Ugandan young men who had suffered historical sexual and physical abuse from a member of a missionary order operating in Uganda.
  • X v Cornell (2013): assessment of damages in a case of sexual abuse of a child.
  • In the matter of the administration of the estate of JIMMY SAVILE sub nom National Westminster Bank Plc v Lucas & 6 Ors [2014] EWHC 653 (Ch): represented the 139 sexual assault victims of Jimmy Savile who were claiming damages out of his estate in a successful application to have a negotiated compensation scheme approved by the court, which was opposed by the beneficiaries under Savile’s will.
  • States of Jersey Historic Abuse Redress Scheme: represented most of the victims who suffered sexual or physical abuse in Haut de la Garenne and other children’s homes in Jersey in negotiations with the Jersey Government to set up and administer a compensation scheme.
  • A & B v Somerset County Council [2012] EWHC 2753: successful appeal against a Master’s refusal to order pre-action disclosure against a local authority in circumstances where the applicants were contemplating bringing a negligence claim against the local authority in respect of its social services department’s delay in commencing care proceedings to remove them from their abusive parents.
  • RAR v GGC [2012] EWHC 2338 (QB): limitation, liability and quantum in a claim for a lady who was sexually abused by her step-father in her childhood.
  • JGE v Trustees of the Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust [2012] EWCA Civ 938: Court of Appeal held that the relationship between a Roman Catholic parish priest and a bishop was sufficiently close in character to that of employee and employer to make it just and fair to hold a diocese vicariously liable for the sexual abuse of one of its priests.
  • AXN & Ors v (1) John Worboys (2) Inceptum Motor Insurance Co Ltd (formerly HSBC Insurance (UK) Ltd) [2012] EWHC 1730 (QB): claims by the victims of the “London taxi rapist” against him and his motor insurer.
  • EL v Children’s Society [2012] EWHC 365 (QB): claim by a man who, as a child in the 1950s, had been sexually abused by the son of the house parents at his children’s home.
  • JGE v (1) English Province of Our Lady of Charity (2) (The Trustees of the Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust [ 2011] EWHC 2871 (QB): a Roman Catholic diocese could be vicariously liable for the wrongful acts of one of its priests given the nature and closeness of the relationship between them.
  • ABB & Ors v Milton Keynes Council [2011] EWHC 2745 (QB): local authority was liable for the shortcomings of social work provided in the early 1990s to a family whose children suffered sexual abuse by their father for many years. The highest ever award of damages in such a case in the UK.
  • EB v John Haughton [2011] EWHC 279 (QB): limitation, liability and quantum in a claim of historic sexual abuse against the perpetrator, who had been acquitted before the criminal courts.
  • Raggett v Society of Jesus [2010] EWCA Civ 1002: guidance on the approach to be taken by trial judges to the exercise of the limitation discretion in historic child abuse cases.
  • X v Y [2010] EWHC 1983 (QB): existence of a duty of care owed to a child by one parent to prevent abuse by the other parent, joint liability for assaults between parents and limitation.
  • MAGA v Trustees of the Birmingham Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church [2010] 1 WLR 1441, [2010] EWCA Civ 256: limitation in historic child abuse claims and leading authority on vicarious liability on the part of the Roman Catholic hierarchy for sexual abuse by a priest.
  • AB & Ors v Nugent Care Society [2009] EWCA Civ 827: major review of limitation and the exercise of the court’s discretion to allow claims to proceed out of time in child abuse cases.
  • G v Spry (2009): assessment of damages in a case of physical and emotional abuse of a child by a foster mother.
  • Hargreaves v Lancashire County Council (2009): limitation in a case of historic sexual abuse.
  • Raggett v Society of Jesus [2009] EWHC 909 (QB): trial of limitation and liability in a very high value and much publicised case concerning a city solicitor who had been sexually abused as a child and the effect of that abuse on his career.
  • MAGA v Archbishop of Birmingham [2009] EWHC 780 (QB): trial of limitation, liability and quantum in a claim arising out of child abuse by a priest.
  • T v Archbishop of Liverpool [2008] EWHC 3531 (QB): the only appellate level decision on an important case management issue which arises in most claims arising out of historic child abuse claims, namely whether questions of limitation should be dealt with separately to or at the main trial.
  • B v LB Ealing & B [2008] EWHC 1262 (QB): claim by a daughter against her father for childhood physical abuse.
  • J, K & P v Archbishop of Birmingham (2008): limitation as a preliminary issue in child abuse cases.
  • B v Quirk (2008): assessment of damages in a case of sexual abuse of a child.
  • C v D & SBA [2006] EWHC 166: liability of a headmaster and monastic order for sexual abuse at a private school.
  • A v Archbishop of Birmingham [2005] EWHC 1361: largest ever damages claim against the Catholic Church in the UK.
  • G v Archbishop of Birmingham [2002] EWHC 3177: limitation in a historic child abuse claim.
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Justin Levinson discusses vicarious liability in the context of child abuse compensation claims in Radio 4’s Unreliable Evidence programme - Dec 2012

The recording is available here.

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