Court rules against suing in child abuse cases

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 08 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:79

Local authorities in Britain cannot be sued if they wrongly take children into care or leave them unprotected when they should have acted, five law lords ruled last week. The judgment by the House of Lords in two test cases, which had been anxiously awaited for eight months, will halt dozens of cases pending against local councils over the exercise of their child protection functions.

The judgment also protects paediatricians and child psychiatrists from actions for negligence over their investigation and advice in cases of suspected child abuse. Had the point been taken after the child abuse crisis in Cleveland, the £1m settlement for the families that were involved could probably have been avoided.

M, …

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