Supreme Court rules English and Welsh local authorities can be held liable for failing to protect children from harm.

Date: 24th June 2019
Category: Civil Rights and Freedoms, Family Environment and Alternative Care, General principles, Disability, Basic Health and Welfare


The UK’s Supreme Court has issued a judgment to restore the right of children to sue local authorities for negligence where councils have failed to protect them from harm.

Today’s ruling clarifies that local authorities in England and Wales can be held to have a duty of care when they are carrying out their statutory child protection functions in respect of children for whom they have not previously accepted responsibility (by virtue of a care order for example). This overrules a previous Court of Appeal decision which gave social workers exemption from liability in such cases. Although is an English appeal and therefore not binding on Scottish Courts, Scottish Courts may refer to this decision as persuasive when deciding similar cases.