20 July 2021 | Comment | Article by Alan Collins

Justice finally served: local authority liable in abuse of child by his mother and her boyfriends

The Hugh James Abuse team have successfully represented a young man from South Wales, who was subjected to sexual abuse and neglect as a toddler by his mother and her boyfriends. The Local Authority attempted to overturn their original admission of liability. Neither party can be named because of a court order protecting the young man’s identity.

The Local Authority had admitted fault by not removing the toddler from the abusive situation that he was in. Consequently, the young man has suffered considerable damage.

After 7 years from admitting fault, the Local Authority, applied to a judge in Cardiff to overturn their original response due to what it thought was a change in the law. The judge allowed them to, but Hugh James successfully overturned that decision in the High Court.

Not satisfied with the High Court’s decision the Local Authority appealed to the Court of Appeal in London which today dismissed its appeal.

The Court of Appeal ruled that it was unfair to the young man for a Local Authority to admit fault and then be allowed the change its appeal. The Local Authority had responsibilities towards the young man which required it to conduct itself with great care. It should have not made decisions which would lead it and the man to be compromised.

Partner and Head of the Abuse team Alan Collins, one of the best-known solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation said;

“The law likes certainty and the Local Authority had made its decision to admit liability having very carefully considered its position. It maybe that law and evidence changes over time, and in some circumstances, it might be appropriate for party in litigation to change its position, but that was not the case here and so the Local Authority has to meet the claim for compensation that was brought on the young man’s behalf.

It is a very important day for our client because it looked as though he might be cheated of justice, but both he, High Court and Court of Appeal have ruled in his favour. The next step is for another judge to determine how much compensation he is entitled to.”


Author bio

Alan Collins is one of the best known solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals. Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

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Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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