Intended for healthcare professionals


Parents wrongfully accused of child abuse cannot sue doctors

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 28 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:981
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
  1. BMJ

    Parents who have been wrongly accused of harming their children cannot sue doctors or social workers for negligence in carrying out investigations into child abuse, the United Kingdom's highest court ruled last week. The law lords dismissed appeals by parents in three test cases from earlier judgments that had struck out their claims.

    In a judgment anxiously awaited by paediatricians, the lords ruled by a majority of four to one that child protection professionals owe a duty of care to the child alone and not to the parents who may suffer as a result of an investigation that is negligent.

    The senior law lord, Lord Bingham, was the sole dissenter. He said he would have …

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