Team 2 Jonny(Jan08)


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Team 2 Jonny(Jan08)

  1. 1. Pierce v Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council [2007] EWHC 2968 13 th December 2007
  2. 2. The Claim <ul><li>Claimant – Jake Pearce, aged 31 years old </li></ul><ul><li>Defendant – Doncaster Met BC </li></ul><ul><li>Claim for damages for a breach of duty of care </li></ul><ul><li>Basis of claim was the failure of the council to “take reasonable steps to protect him during his childhood” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Background <ul><li>Shortly after his birth he was removed from family home </li></ul><ul><li>Placed in Foster Care August 1976 to November 1977 (returned to care of parents) </li></ul><ul><li>He left home and lived on the streets towards the end of 1990 when he was 15 years old </li></ul>
  4. 4. Reasons for the claim <ul><li>The council sanctioned his return to his parents without a proper or adequate assessment of the family home and parents ability to care for him, there was also inadequate follow-up and monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>He suffered severe neglect, emotional and physical abuse from his parents </li></ul><ul><li>He also experienced sexual and physical abuse whilst living on the streets from 1990 </li></ul>
  5. 5. What he was claiming for <ul><li>Pain and suffering </li></ul><ul><li>Psychiatric damage attributable to that abuse </li></ul><ul><li>He argued that no reasonable and competent social services department would have returned him to his parents </li></ul><ul><li>At the time there were professional standards which were not kept to and there exists a corpus of evidence (documentary records from the period) </li></ul><ul><li>He also argued that he has suffered psychiatric damage which was attributable to his childhood abuse </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Ruling <ul><li>It was obvious the defendant owed a duty of care from mid-1976 </li></ul><ul><li>The judge could not see how the imposition of the duty was anything but fair, just and reasonable </li></ul><ul><li>Council was in breach by allowing the defendant back into parental care in Nov 1977 </li></ul><ul><li>On the balance of probabilities the claimant had suffered “indifference, neglect and periodic violence in the home environment at the hands of his parents” (Mr Justice Eady) </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>If he had not returned home it is likely that he would have been fostered, adopted or lived in local authority care. </li></ul><ul><li>Reasonable to presume he would have been looked after properly. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Conclusion <ul><li>He would not have undergone the physical cruelty and emotional deprivation he had suffered at home if the council had not placed him back in the care of his parents </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore the council have breached their duty of care </li></ul><ul><li>Standard of care was that of “a competent department judged accordingly to the prevailing professional climate at the time” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Damages <ul><li>The neglect and abuse during childhood including the physical violence was provable </li></ul><ul><li>But the later abuse whilst living on the streets was too speculative and remote </li></ul><ul><li>Awarded £25,000 for pain, suffering and loss of amenity in the circumstances </li></ul>