Verisona Law investigating abuse claims at St Paul's School and Colet Court

An investigation has claimed that six teachers at the prestigious St. Paul's School were responsible for historical sexual abuse of pupils. The alleged abuse is said to have taken place between the 1960s and 1980s. One of the teachers, Alan Doggett, helped launch the careers of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and later conducted recordings of three of their musicals. According to an investigation by The Times, St Paul's failed to report the abuse to police on at least two occasions during the 1960s and 1970s, after concerns were raised by parents or members of staff. St Paul's and its prep school Colet Court are regarded as amongst the best schools in Britain and attract boys from all over west and south-west London including Barnes, Putney, Chiswick, East Sheen and Ealing. St Paul's School has said that none of the alleged abuse involves current staff or pupils. 'Any sexual abuse of children by an adult — and particularly a teacher — is abhorrent, a serious violation of trust, and an affront to the values of any caring community. Suspects should be investigated and subjected to the proper processes of justice'. In the most recent criminal case, a former Geography teacher was arrested last month and released on bail. Police are hoping to speak to more ex-pupils in the enquiry according to The Times report. A seventh teacher, former head of history at St. Paul's, Keith Perry, received a 2-year suspended sentence at Southwark Crown Court last month, admitting 17 charges of making and distributing child abuse images “over a substantial period of time” One former case involves ex-director of music at olet ourt (1963-1968) lan Doggett, who was allowed to resign after the suspected serial abuse of one pupil came to light. Within a year he was teaching music at another London independent school and later directed a London boys' choir, even taking them on European tours. In 1978, he was charged with indecent assault of a 10 year old choirboy, and threw himself in front of a train aged 41, a few hours after appearing in court. He was also a member of the PIE pressure group which has recently been linked to senior Labour figures. An ex-pupil speaking to the imes accused St. Paul's of “hushing up” the offences which led to Doggett’s departure. He also said that on two occasions, in 2000 and earlier this year, he had contacted St. Paul's to ask if it had support mechanisms for victims of historical abuse at the school, yet each time he claims that he was told that there was no such provision. Last week, St Paul’s finally suggested a meeting with him. In a statement, St Paul’s stressed that none of the alleged abuse concerned current staff or pupils. The school called for living suspects to be “investigated and subjected to the proper processes of justice”. It added that “the school deals quickly, sensitively and resolutely with any concerns or allegations of abuse. his commitment applies equally to allegations of historic abuse. Pupil welfare and safeguarding are our highest priority”. Professor Mark Bailey, the school’s High Master, said he was “grateful to the imes for bringing these allegations to our attention” and promised that St. Paul’s would co-operate fully with any investigation. If you can assist please do not hesitate to contact Charles Derham our specialist child abuse solicitor. We will treat any communications with the strictest of confidence.

Lisa has specialised in childhood abuse and social care negligence for the last 8 years and has extensive experience in relation to civil abuse litigation, CICA claim maximisation and Redress Scheme claims. She offers a sympathetic and professional approach to her clients’ problems and advises on funding options (including insurance and Conditional Fee Agreements.)

Since 2018 she has travelled around the country to see clients who were failed by Lambeth Council during their childhood in order to collate evidence for submission to the Lambeth Children’s Home Compensation Scheme. Lisa’s style of working is tailored to providing emotional support whilst applying the specialist legal expertise required to ensure her client’s have the best evidence for making a successful claim.

Lisa is able to access key psychiatric and social care experts to obtain evidence and therapy recommendations for clients. She can direct clients to treatment providers if required. Often such treatment costs can be claimed as part of the compensation process. This is a priority to ensure her clients have the best opportunity to make positive steps into the future. Lisa excels in applying questions to psychiatric experts to clarify and ensure they have a deeper understanding of the case issues where required. She is also experienced in negotiation to maximise outcome according to specific scheme terms.

For the last year and half, Lisa has been leading the firm’s participation in the National Abuse Inquiry specifically relating to the IICSA Lambeth investigation acting on behalf of 6 core participants. Such work involved the preparation of core participant applications, section 40 funding applications, detailed consideration of social care record evidence, witness statements preparation, attending preliminary hearings for consideration on the extent of other key party involvement, detailed work on documentary disclosure evidence from the council, police and other core participants to identify deep seated failings within the past care and policing systems, cross referencing, and work with counsel on composing Rule 10 questioning of corporate and police witnesses giving evidence at the IICSA Lambeth hearing. Lisa also accompanied a key core participant giving evidence to the IICSA hearing providing support and understanding to ensure her client’s evidence was sensitively taken into account when the panel make recommendations to protect children in the future. Questions were raised on the effectiveness of the current Serious Case Review system and how this has been operating within police and council’s across the country, something which has also been identified whilst working on specific civil cases. The hope is that improvements in the child protection mechanisms can ensure the safety of children in future.

Lisa also specialises in CICA claims, an area of work which has increased significantly following the lifting of the pre 1979 same home abuse rule which facilitated many victims being able to finally achieve justice relating to serious childhood abuse.

Lisa also has extensive particular experience in running civil claims relating to foster carer abuse, abuse in private/public/approved school institutions, church abuse, and abuse linked to gymnastics.

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.

Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience of dealing with Personal Injury matters ranging from road traffic accidents to workplace injury and liability.

Lisa is fluent in German and Persian. She also has experience in Civil Litigation regarding Debt Recovery, Breach of Contract, and Insolvency Law

Client testimonials

"Lovely, friendly, great people. Very understanding too and very good at what they do. Very happy with the result, many thanks again Lisa and everyone involved in my case."

"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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