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


Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience of dealing with Personal Injury matters ranging from road traffic accidents to workplace injury and liability. She offers a sympathetic and professional approach to her clients’ problems and advises on funding options (including insurance and Conditional Fee Agreements.)

Her extensive knowledge of the Civil Procedure Rules, skills in evidence gathering and analysis of liability and causation, and experience in risk assessment and settlement negotiation make her a valuable asset to clients and colleagues alike.

She is also a member of Verisona Law’s Historic Abuse Team and undertakes documentary analysis, work relating to case evidence and the development of legal arguments to secure successful settlements. She is fluent in German and Persian.

Lisa also has experience in Civil Litigation regarding Debt Recovery, Breach of Contract, and Insolvency Law.

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"I would like to express my profound heartfelt gratitude to Lisa Gafarov for all her hard work and understanding when representing me. She fought passionately for my case for two years.

Within this time, never once did I feel it was about the money for her. She was very considerate and dealt with many personal matters in a caring and professional way. It was a very sensitive case but she put in a lot of hard work and went the extra mile each time. Her wide range of expertise was indispensable during this difficult time. Because of this I trusted all her advice and as a result, this took a lot of pressure off of me.

She managed to reach a very amicable conclusion between the defendants and myself. You don’t know how much your passion impacts the lives of others. For this I am forever grateful. I would recommend your firm a hundred times over."
Anonymous, April 2019

Lisa studied ‘Contract Law, European Law and Employment Law’ as part of her degree in BA (Hons) Business Administration. She has also studied other business subjects, including accounting.

Having completed her degree, Lisa started work for Verisona Law in November 1999 in the Personal Injury department as a Trainee Litigation Clerk and since then has developed extensive skills in relation to personal injury litigation and case preparation.

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Accidents at work
  • Slip and trip claims
  • Occupier’s liability claims
  • Product Liability claims
  • Industrial disease claims
  • Work related upper limb disorder claims
  • Clinical negligence, including amputation claims
  • Cosmetic surgery claims
  • Abuse 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."

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