A and S v Lancashire County Council
In December 2018, our specialist abuse solicitors here at Farleys settled the highest ever compensation award in relation to Local Authority failings.
The Queens Bench Division (QBD) of the High Court approved settlement in the case of A and S v Lancashire County Council (LCC). The Approval Hearing took place on 10 December 2018, the day before a five day trial was due to commence, and resulted in a combined payment to the Claimants from the Local Authority of £9.6 million. This eclipses the highest previous award in a claim of this nature.
A and S (the Claimants) are brothers born in 1995 and 1997. They were received into the care of the Defendant (LCC) on 23 February 1998 with Care Orders being made later that year.
The plan was for A and S to be adopted. This however, never happened and they instead became “statutory orphans”.
On 21 June 2012, this matter came before Mr Justice Jackson who described in some detail the chaotic upbringing these two boys had endured. He describes A as having suffered some 77 different placement moves within his 16 years of life, whilst S as suffered no fewer than 96 placement moves in his 14 years of life. During some of the placements the Claimants suffered neglect and abuse. The Guardian in the Family Proceedings described both as profoundly damaged by their particular childhood journey through the care system. Mr Justice Jackson made various declarations under Articles 8, 6 and 3 of the Human Rights Act.
How Farleys were able to help
From 2012 onwards, Farleys worked with Counsel specialising in this area of work to quantify damages claims on behalf of A and S.
The matter was transferred to the Queens Bench Division and the parties were complimented on the collaborative approach to the litigation and settlement negotiations.
Various experts were instructed on a joint basis to include child and adolescent psychiatrist, adult psychiatrist and care expert. Evidence was also obtained from an educational psychologist and Court of Protection expert.
Liability & Settlement
Liability was resolved at an early stage with the Local Authority offering apologies to A and S both at the conclusion of the Family Proceedings and at the Approval Hearing of the civil damages claim. Four separate Joint Settlement Meetings took place before an offer of £9.6million jointly to the Claimants was put forward, which was deemed acceptable by the Litigation Friend, who in this case was the Official Solicitor and which was thereafter approved by the Queens Bench Division.
Damages included awards for loss of earnings (past and future), care and Court of Protection fees.
The size of the award reflects the significant damage that was done to A and S by the Local Authority’s failings during their childhood. The previous highest award in a damages claim against a Local Authority was also dealt with by Farleys, when an award of £1million was made for failings which resulted in a Claimant suffering severe physical and sexual abuse during childhood. The award to A and S is almost ten times this previous case.
The same legal team dealt with both cases as follows:
Lizanne Gumbel QC, Senior Counsel
Justin Levinson, Junior Counsel
Speak to an Expert
If you are looking to make a claim, as acknowledged specialists in this area of law, we understand that talking to a lawyer about any abuse or failings by a local authority that you have suffered will be extremely difficult. Our team assure you that will do everything in our power to make sure that you not only feel safe and comfortable with your solicitor, but also that you receive the appropriate compensation for your suffering.
Phone our dedicated abuse compensation phone line on on 0330 134 6430, email us or use or online chat at the bottom of this page to get in touch.