AB and others v Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust: QBD 26 Mar 2004

Representative claims were made against the respondents, hospitals, pathologists etc with regard to the removal of organs from deceased children without the informed consent of the parents. They claimed under the tort of wrongful interference.
Held: Organ removal when a post mortem had been ordered by the coroner was not tortious. In English law there is no known case involving the tort of wrongful interference with a body, and that claim failed.
As to negligence, though the primary doctor-patient relationship was with the child, ‘taking consent for a post-mortem was not just an administrative matter bringing a doctor into contact with a mother. It was . . part of the continuing duty of care owed by the clinicians to the mother following the death of a child.’


The Honourable Mr Justice Gage


[2004] EWHC 644 (QB), Times 12-Apr-2004, (2004) 77 BMLR 145, [2004] 2 FLR 365, [2004] 3 FCR 324, [2004] Fam Law 501, [2005] 2 WLR 358, [2005] Lloyd’s Rep Med 1, [2005] QB 50




Registration of Births and Deaths Regulations 1987 41(1), Coroners Act 1988 8(1)(b), Human Tissue Act 1961


England and Wales


CitedMacFarlane and Another v Tayside Health Board HL 21-Oct-1999
Child born after vasectomy – Damages Limited
Despite a vasectomy, Mr MacFarlane fathered a child, and he and his wife sought damages for the cost of care and otherwise of the child. He appealed a rejection of his claim.
Held: The doctor undertakes a duty of care in regard to the . .
CitedRegina v Kelly 1999
Robbers who stole and sold preserved specimens from the Royal College of Surgeons’ collection were held rightly convicted of theft. The court considered the issue of ownership of a corpse: ‘We accept that however questionable the historical origins . .
CitedRegina v Sharpe CCCR 1857
The defendant was charged not with theft of a corpse, but of its removal from a grave: ‘Our law recognises no property in a corpse, and the protection of the grave at common law as contradistinguished from ecclesiastic protection to consecrated . .
CitedDobson and Dobson v North Tyneside Health Authority and Newcastle Health Authority CA 26-Jun-1996
A post mortem had been carried out by the defendants. The claimants, her grandmother and child sought damages after it was discovered that not all body parts had been returned for burial, some being retained instead for medical research. They now . .
CitedPollok v Workman 1900
A widow sought damages for an unauthorised post mortem carried out on her husband. The act was alleged to have been criminal and in the nature of an action of assythment.
Held: The case was competent, but was dismissed for other reasons. . .
CitedRegina v Vann 1851
A parent of a child who had not the means of providing for the burial of the body of his deceased child was not liable to be indicted for the misdemeanour of not providing for its burial, even though a nuisance was occasioned by the body remaining . .
CitedRegina v Feist 1858
A master of a workhouse may have legal possssion of a body before burial, and therefore a duty to provide for its burial. . .
CitedRegina v Gwynedd County Council ex parte B and Another 1992
The ambit of the 1980 act does not extend to regulating events arising after a child’s death. . .
CitedClarke v London General Omnibus Co Ltd 1906
The parent of an infant child who dies where the parent has the means to do so, has a responsibility to arrange and pay for the burial. . .
CitedHughes v Robertson 1930
The widow sought damages for an unauthorised autopsy carried out upon the body of her late husband. . .
CitedDoodeward v Spence 1908
(High Court of Australia) The police seized from an exhibitor the body of a two headed still born baby which had been preserved in a bottle.
Held: An order was made for its return: ‘If, then, there can, under some circumstances, be a continued . .
CitedWilkinson v Downton 8-May-1997
Thomas Wilkinson, the landlord of a public house, went off by train, leaving his wife Lavinia behind the bar. A customer of the pub, Downton played a practical joke on her. He told her, falsely, that her husband had been involved in an accident and . .
CitedWainwright and another v Home Office HL 16-Oct-2003
The claimant and her son sought to visit her other son in Leeds Prison. He was suspected of involvement in drugs, and therefore she was subjected to strip searches. There was no statutory support for the search. The son’s penis had been touched . .
CitedEdmunds v Armstrong Funeral Home Ltd 1931
(Canada – Court of Appeal of the Alberta Supreme Court) A widower claimed damages for the unlawful carrying out of an autopsy on the body of the claimant’s deceased wife. The claim was dismissed by the judge at first instance on the ground that it . .
CitedX (Minors) v Bedfordshire County Council; M (A Minor) and Another v Newham London Borough Council; Etc HL 29-Jun-1995
Liability in Damages on Statute Breach to be Clear
Damages were to be awarded against a Local Authority for breach of statutory duty in a care case only if the statute was clear that damages were capable of being awarded. in the ordinary case a breach of statutory duty does not, by itself, give rise . .
CitedPowell and Another v Boldaz and others CA 1-Jul-1997
The plaintiff’s son aged 10 died of Addison’s Disease which had not been diagnosed. An action against the Health Authority was settled. The parents then brought an action against 5 doctors in their local GP Practice in relation to matters that had . .
CitedMcLoughlin v Jones; McLoughlin v Grovers (a Firm) CA 2002
In deciding whether a duty of care is established the court must go to the ‘battery of tests which the House of Lords has taught us to use’, namely: ‘. . the ‘purpose’ test (Banque Bruxelles Lambert SA v Eagle Star Insurance Co Ltd); the ‘assumption . .
CitedCaparo Industries Plc v Dickman and others HL 8-Feb-1990
Limitation of Loss from Negligent Mis-statement
The plaintiffs sought damages from accountants for negligence. They had acquired shares in a target company and, relying upon the published and audited accounts which overstated the company’s earnings, they purchased further shares.
Held: The . .
CitedAlcock and Others v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police HL 28-Nov-1991
The plaintiffs sought damages for nervous shock. They had watched on television, as their relatives and friends, 96 in all, died at a football match, for the safety of which the defendants were responsible. The defendant police service had not . .
CitedJD, MAK and RK, RK and Another v East Berkshire Community Health, Dewsbury Health Care NHS Trust and Kirklees Metropolitan Council, Oldham NHS Trust and Dr Blumenthal CA 31-Jul-2003
Damages were sought by parents for psychological harm against health authorities for the wrongful diagnosis of differing forms of child abuse. They appealed dismissal of their awards on the grounds that it was not ‘fair just and reasonable’ to . .
CitedPage v Smith HL 12-May-1995
The plaintiff was driving his car when the defendant turned into his path. Both cars suffered considerable damage but the drivers escaped physical injury. The Plaintiff had a pre-existing chronic fatigue syndrome, which manifested itself from time . .
CitedBourhill v Young’s Executor HL 5-Aug-1942
When considering claims for damages for shock, the court only recognised the action lying where the injury by shock was sustained ‘through the medium of the eye or the ear without direct contact.’ Wright L said: ‘No doubt, it has long ago been . .
CitedHucks v Cole CA 1968
(Reported 1993) A doctor failed to treat with penicillin a patient, the plaintiff, in a maternity ward. She was suffering from septic spots on her skin though he knew them to contain organisms capable of leading to puerperal fever. Several . .
CitedSutherland v Hatton; Barber v Somerset County Council and similar CA 5-Feb-2002
Defendant employers appealed findings of liability for personal injuries consisting of an employee’s psychiatric illness caused by stress at work.
Held: Employers have a duty to take reasonable care for the safety of their employees. There are . .
CitedSidaway v Board of Governors of the Bethlem Royal Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital HL 21-Feb-1985
Explanation of Medical Risks essential
The plaintiff alleged negligence in the failure by a surgeon to disclose or explain to her the risks inherent in the operation which he had advised.
Held: The appeal failed. A mentally competent patient has an absolute right to refuse to . .
CitedW v Essex County Council and Another HL 17-Mar-2000
A foster child was placed with a family. The child had a history of abusing other children, but the foster parents, who had other children were not told. The foster child caused psychiatric damage to the carers.
Held: It was wrong to strike . .
CitedBolitho v City and Hackney Health Authority HL 24-Jul-1997
The plaintiff suffered catastrophic brain damage as a result of cardiac arrest induced by respiratory failure as a child whilst at the defendant hospital. A doctor was summoned but failed to attend, and the child suffered cardiac arrest and brain . .
CitedA B and others v Tameside and Glossop Health Authority and Trafford Health Authority CA 13-Nov-1996
The choice of the telephone as a means of alerting and re-assuring people, who had received treatment from a health worker later found to be HIV+, was proper. The was no breach of a duty care, even though some people called had suffered distress: . .
CitedBolton v Stone HL 10-May-1951
The plaintiff was injured by a prodigious and unprecedented hit of a cricket ball over a distance of 100 yards. He claimed damages in negligence.
Held: When looking at the duty of care the court should ask whether the risk was not so remote . .
CitedWalker v Northumberland County Council QBD 16-Nov-1994
The plaintiff was a manager within the social services department. He suffered a mental breakdown in 1986, and had four months off work. His employers had refused to provide the increased support he requested. He had returned to work, but again, did . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Damages, Health Professions, Torts – Other, Negligence

Updated: 21 July 2022; Ref: scu.194994