E (A Minor) v Dorset County Council: CA 1995

It is generally unwise to give summary judgment in cases where the relevant law is uncertain or in a state of development: ‘This must mean that where the legal viability of a cause of action is unclear (perhaps because the law is in a state of transition), or is in any way sensitive to the facts, an order to strike out should not be made.’
Sir Thomas Bingham MR: ‘I would accept that certain elements pleaded as damage by Richard (for example the allegation that he suffered distress and that he is a shy, diffident person) cannot be compensated in damages, and similar points may be made about E’s claim that he was ‘upset’. It is also quite clear that none of the plaintiffs can recover damages for a congenital defect. If, however, 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 education 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.’
Evans LJ: ‘In my judgment for the reasons given at the outset, the failure to treat or the delayed treatment of dyslexia does arguably give rise to a form of injury which can support a claim for damages for negligence in tort.’


Sir Thomas Bingham MR, Evans LJ


[1995] 2 AC 633


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedCarson and Reynolds v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions CA 17-Jun-2003
The claimant Reynolds challenged the differential treatment by age of jobseeker’s allowance. Carson complained that as a foreign resident pensioner, her benefits had not been uprated. The questions in each case were whether the benefit affected a . .
CitedEquitable Life Assurance Society v Ernst and Young CA 25-Jul-2003
The claimant sought damages from its accountants, saying that had they been advised of the difficulties in their financial situation, they would have been able to avoid the loss of some 2.5 billion pounds, or to sell their assets at a time when . .
CitedHowe and Co v Burden QBD 11-Feb-2004
Defence of consent – no strike out. The precise ambit of the defence of consent in a defamation case is best established at trial on the basis of the tribunal’s findings of fact. . .
CitedSkipper v Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council and Governors of Crossley Heath School CA 15-Mar-2006
The claimant sought damages alleging that the defendants had failed her by not identifying and ameliorating her dyslexia whilst she was a student. The judge had found that she might establish negligence but that she had not established any loss. She . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice

Updated: 12 December 2022; Ref: scu.184852