The Supreme Court have handed down judgement today in the Case of Armes v Nottinghamshire County Council.
The Supreme Court allows the appeal by a majority of 4-1, finding the local authority vicariously LIABLE for the abuse committed by the foster parents, but rejecting the argument that the local authority were liable on the basis of a non-delegable duty.
By way of background the matter came before Males HJ in the High Court in 2014. It was found that the appellant had been abused by the foster parents, but Males HJ did not consider the Local Authority liable for the abuse. He did not believe a case in negligence was held out, that the legal principle of vicarious liability did not apply to the relationship between a Local Authority and foster parents, and whilst the components of a non-delegable duty of care where held out as a matter of public policy a non-delegable duty of care did not exist.
The matter came before the Court of Appeal in 2015 on appeal from the appellant. The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the Court below. The appellant appealed to the Supreme Court who have found in her favour.
Charles Derham, head of the abuse team at Verisona Law comments ‘This is a huge step forward in the bringing of claims against Local Authorities for abuse at the hands of foster parents. It is a welcome conclusion that the relationship between the authority and foster parents is so intrinsically linked and such a degree of control is held over a foster parent; that the authority can be found strictly liable for the foster parents actions.’
He further comments ‘many may have been advised that a claim could not be brought in respect of foster parent abuse, however urges anybody who was abused by foster parents to act swiftly in obtaining specialist legal advice’.
Verisona Law have specific expertise in dealing with child abuse claims/sexual abuse claims. If you were subject to child abuse by foster parents please do not hesitate to contact a member of the specially trained team. We will treat any communications with the strictest of confidence.
A full link to the judgement is below: