0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

social workers might owe a duty of care to hildren not yet born

31 October 2011

A judge has ruled that four siblings receive damages after Buckinghamshire County Council’s Social Workers failed to protect them from very serious sexual abuse by their father. The highest award was £155,487; the lowest £12,000.

What makes this case unusual is the large discrepancy between the lowest damages award, and the highest award.

More significant still is the fact that this judge was prepared to find that, although social workers closed the file on 5 June 1993, a duty of care was owed to a child who had not even been conceived. Hampton, J pointed out that the risk posed by the father to “any child” in the family had been established. I do hope this finding is Appealed. If it is allowed to stand it could be the basis of broadening the category of people to whom social workers owe a duty considerably. There simply aren’t the resources to carry out risk assessments anticipating children who aren’t on the scene.

related opinions

COVID-19 child protection practice - four months in - lessons learned so far

In June 2020 the University of Birmingham published a research briefing exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child protection practice.

View blog

“Caution” is now the watchword when it comes to directly awarding public sectors contracts

The judicial review proceedings brought by the Good Law Project against the Department of Health and Social Care in relation to the £108m contract the Department awarded for PPE in April are about to shine a light on Regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

View blog

Chancellor announces levy on companies subject to anti-money laundering regulations

The Chancellor’s latest Budget Report outlined that the Government will introduce a £100 million Economic Crime Levy, otherwise known as the AML Levy no earlier than April 2022 to fund action to tackle money laundering and ensure delivery of reforms in the Government’s Economic Crime Plan.

View blog

Should heading the ball be banned in football?

A report by experts from the University of Glasgow looking at deaths caused by neurodegenerative disease in former professional footballers in Scotland.

View blog

mailing list sign up



Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up