Nigel Leat victims may have rise to compensation claims – Hillside First School

Harrowing cases of child sex abuse are being aired in the media almost every day.

Last month, Nigel Leat, 51, was jailed indefinitely for abusing children at Hillside First School in Weston-super-Mare. Leat, of Bloomfield Road in Bristol, admitted

36 sexual offences at Bristol Crown Court in May 2011.

A serious case review was commissioned after Leat's 2010 arrest at the instigation of the North Somerset Safeguarding Children Board. The review identified 20 pupils who were witnesses or victims of abuse by Leat, describing the failure of the school management as “lamentable”. The report revealed that 30 incidents were witnessed by staff but only 11 reported to the headteacher, Chris Hood, who failed to pass the concerns to the local education authority.

It's likely that a number of Leat's victims will bring claims against North Somerset Council, and ultimately its insurers, especially with the damning report finding significant failings in the school.

Legal aid is likely to be available in a some cases, but if this is not available then there are other funding alterntives such as conditional fee agreements.

The Limitation Act 1980 says that a victim of child abuse has three years from their 18th birthday to bring a claim before the courts, and if they fail to do so they are too late. Victims needs to have this in their mind should they be considering a claim for compensation.

The courts are taking an increasingly tough line with those failing in their duty of care to children. In October, a unitary authority was ordered to pay almost £320 000 in damages to four claimants who suffered “the most appalling” abuse at the hands of their father, after finding it vicariously liable for the negligence of social workers employed by its predecessor authority. The judge awarded sums to the claimants ranging from £59 476 to £155 487.

For more on this article, or if you wish to discuss in confidence any claim you might have please contact us.


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

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