On 21st December 2017, the Court of Appeal heard the case of 2 learning disabled children who had been bullied to the point of suicide by neighbours in Council run accomodation.
It was argued by their lawyers that the Local Authority owed them a duty of care, particularly because complaints of the conduct had been made, and no action taken either by Poole Borough Council or the Police.
The Court found that the local authority did not owe them a duty of care, and dismissed their case despite their Appeal having been successful in the High Court.
More importantly, the Court of Appeal found that a previous case called D v East Berkshire Council was bad law for complicated legal reasons.
The case has created intense debate amongst lawyers, and resulted in many unintended consequences. In particular, some Local Authority lawyers argue that victims of abuse are no longer owed a duty of care by their local authority social workers and that the Human Rights Act does not come to their aid, as was previously thought.
The plight of the victims of gang abuse and sexual exploitation has attracted much media attention in various cities around the country, as well as anger and political support. This case could deny such victims access to justice in a way, perhaps, unintended by the judgment in the case. Shortly after the judgment was handed down, the Daily Mirror published the attached article to highlight the injustice which the case could provoke.
We believe that the state of the law is highly unsatisfactory, unclear, and needs to be resolved as soon as possible by the Supreme Court
Please support us by writing a letter to your MP click here (to see who your MP is click here). A copy is available to download in Microsoft Word Format . Otherwise please copy and paste the text below.
|Mr. [Name of MP]
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Re: No Access to Justice for Victims of Sexual Exploitation
I am writing to you as my MP because of my concern that a recent case called CN & GN v Poole Borough Council 2017 has unintentionally changed the law, so as deny rights to the victims of child abuse. It arguably relieves social workers of any professional responsibility for their actions at civil law.
The case concerned bullying by neighbours, but the decision has brought gross uncertainty to the law, which will undoubtedly deny justice to some of the most vulnerable members of society unless the Supreme Court can clarify the position quickly.
I have an interest in this subject because [insert].
The decision in the case may prevent the victims of sexual exploitation and gang related abuse, in particular, from holding the Local Authority responsible for them to account at civil law. It is also arguably contrary to the Human Rights Act 1998.
As you are my MP, would you please tell me what you can do to help improve the rights of the victims of abuse. I hope that you can put pressure upon the Ministry of Justice to expedite some clarification of the law by the Supreme Court.