Catholic Church loses child abuse liability appeal

A groundbreaking and precedent setting rule holds that the Catholic Church can be held liable for the wrongdoings of its priests. Last year Mr Justice Macuff decided in favour of a woman who claimed she was raped and assaulted as a child by a priest of the Portsmouth Diocese. The Court of Appeal has upheld this decision, which raises "an issue of wide general importance in respect of claims against the Catholic Church". A diocese spokesman said the case was about "fundamental legal principles". 'void or delay' The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, says she was assaulted as a child by the late Father William Baldwin, a priest of the Portsmouth Diocese. Lawyers for the claimant said of the ruling in November 2011 that it was the first time a court had been asked to rule on whether the "relationship between a Catholic priest and his bishop is akin to an employment relationship". A spokesman for the diocese said after the latest hearing: "This case is not, and has never been, about seeking to avoid or delay the payment of compensation to victims with valid claims. "This case is about fundamental legal principles involving the very nature of civil society and religious freedom." If you were subject to abuse or you know of a friend or relative who was please get in touch in the strictest of confidence. Charles Derham crd@verisona.com 02392492472


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence claims

"Thank you for all your much appreciated hard work. I will truly never forget your kindness towards me. Your patience, respect and understanding at all times was beyond words. The sincere compassion shown meant more to me than words could ever express. This firm will forever hold a special place in my heart."

Anonymous


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