M and Another -v- Newham London Borough Council and Others; X (Minors) -v- Bedfordshire County Council; CA 24-Feb-1994

A local authority was not liable in damages for breach of a statutory duty in Social Services. The policy which has first claim on the loyalty of the law is that wrongs should be remedied. The court would not go so far as to hold that the education authorities owed the plaintiffs a duty of care, it was equally not willing to say that the claims were ‘unarguable or almost incontestably bad’ and ‘If a plaintiff can show (1) that the adverse consequences of his congenital defect could have been mitigated by early diagnosis of the defect and appropriate treatment or educational provision; (2) that the adverse consequences of his congenital defect were not mitigated because early diagnosis was not made, or appropriate treatment not given or provision not made, with resulting detriment to his level of educational attainment and employability; and (3) that this damage is not too remote, I do not regard the claim for damage to be necessarily bad.’
Sir Thomas Bingham MR (dissenting): ‘It would require very potent considerations of public policy which do not in my view exist here, to override the rule of public policy which has first claim on the loyalty of the law: that wrongs should be remedied.’

Court: CA
Date: 24-Feb-1994
Judges: Sir Thomas Bingham MR, Evans LJ
Links: Independent, Times,
References: [1995] 2 AC 633,
Cases Cited:
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Filed under Local Government, Negligence

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