JD, 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 impose such a duty. The appellants sought to distinguish X v Bedfordshire in different ways.
Held: The appeals concerned a fundamental aspect of the law of negligence. The courts would not extend the duty of care unless it was ‘fair just and reasonable.’ No infringement or article 6 was involved in that decision. Human rights law as regards the infringement of the right to family life would require investigation of the individual facts, and was an extension of the pre-existing law, but that could not assist parties affected by acts predating the Human Rights Act. For claims by children there would always be conflicting interests, but for parents their interests would always be for the child to stay with them. Therefore there would be no investigation of the facts of their circumstances required, and no claim.


Lady Justice Hale Lord Justice Latham Lord Phillips Of Worth Matravers, Mr


[2003] EWCA Civ 1151, Times 21-Aug-2003, [2003] 3 FCR 1, [2003] 4 All E R 796, [2004] QB 558, (2004) 76 BMLR 61, [2003] Lloyd’s Rep Med 552, [2003] HRLR 35, (2004) 7 CCL Rep 63, [2003] 2 FLR 1166, [2003] UKHRR 1200, [2004] 2 WLR 58, [2003] Fam Law 816




European Convention on Human Rights 6 8.1


England and Wales


AppliedCaparo 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 . .
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 . .
CitedBarrett v London Borough of Enfield CA 25-Mar-1997
A Local Authority is only vicariously liable for the negligence of a social worker to a child in care. . .
CitedRegina v Deputy Governor of Parkhurst Prison, Ex parte Hague, Weldon v Home Office HL 24-Jul-1991
The prisoner challenged the decision to place him in segregation under Prison Rule 43. Under rule 43(1) the initial power to segregate was given to ‘the governor’. The case arose from the fact that the governor of one prison had purported to . .
CitedH v Norfolk County Council CA 10-May-1996
This was an application for leave to appeal against a striking out order. The plaintiff, aged 22, alleged that he had been physically and sexually abused by his foster father. He claimed that the council was negligent in not properly monitoring and . .
CitedStovin v Wise, Norfolk County Council (Third Party) HL 24-Jul-1996
Statutory Duty Does Not Create Common Law Duty
The mere existence of statutory power to remedy a defect cannot of itself create a duty of care to do so. A highway authority need not have a duty of care to highway users because of its duty to maintain the highway. The two stage test ‘involves . .
Appeal fromJD v East Berkshire Community Health QBD 2003
The claimants sought damages after being wrongfully accused of abusing their children.
Held: Public policy considerations militated strongly against the existence of any duty on the facts of the case. No duty of care can be owed by the doctor . .
Appeal fromRK and MK v Oldham NHS Trust 2003
Apprehension, fear and discomfort are not generally compensatable. . .

Cited by:

CitedA and Another v Essex County Council CA 17-Dec-2003
The claimant sought damages. The respondent had acted as an adoption agency but had failed to disclose all relevant information about the child.
Held: Any such duty extended only during the period where the child was with the prospective . .
CitedBinod Sutradhar v Natural Environment Research Council CA 20-Feb-2004
The defendant council had carried out research into a water supply in India in the 1980s. The claimant drank the water, and claimed damages for having consumed arsenic in it.
Held: There is a close link between the tests in law for proximity . .
CitedAB 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.
CitedPrice and others v Leeds City Council CA 16-Mar-2005
The defendant gypsies had moved their caravans onto land belonging to the respondents without planning permission. They appealed an order to leave saying that the order infringed their rights to respect for family life.
Held: There had been . .
Appeal fromJD v East Berkshire Community Health NHS Trust and others HL 21-Apr-2005
Parents of children had falsely and negligently been accused of abusing their children. The children sought damages for negligence against the doctors or social workers who had made the statements supporting the actions taken. The House was asked if . .
CitedAD and OH (A Child) v Bury Metropolitan Borough Council CA 17-Jan-2006
The claimants, mother and son, sought damages from the respondent after they had commenced care proceedings resulting in the son being taken into temporary care. The authority had wrongly suspected abuse. The boy was later found to suffer brittle . .
CitedPierce v Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council QBD 13-Dec-2007
The claimant sought damages, saying that the local authority had failed to protect him when he was a child against abuse by his parents.
Held: The claimant had been known to the authority since he was a young child, and they owed him a duty of . .
CitedHertfordshire Police v Van Colle; Smith v Chief Constable of Sussex Police HL 30-Jul-2008
Police Obligations to Witnesses is Limited
A prosecution witness was murdered by the accused shortly before his trial. The parents of the deceased alleged that the failure of the police to protect their son was a breach of article 2.
Held: The House was asked ‘If the police are alerted . .
CitedPurdy, Regina (on the Application of) v Director of Public Prosecutions and Another QBD 29-Oct-2008
The applicant suffered mutiple sclerosis and considered that she might wish to go abroad to end her life. She asked the court to make more clear the guidance provided by the Director as to whether her partner might be prosecuted under section 2(1) . .
CitedPurdy, Regina (on the Application of) v Director of Public Prosecutions and Another Admn 29-Oct-2008
The applicant said that the defendant had unlawfully failed to provide detailed guidance under section 10 of the 1985 Act, on the circumstances under which a prosecution might lie of a person performing acts which might assist another to commit . .
CitedTrent Strategic Health Authority v Jain and Another HL 21-Jan-2009
The claimants’ nursing home business had been effectively destroyed by the actions of the Authority which had applied to revoke their licence without them being given notice and opportunity to reply. They succeeded on appeal, but the business was by . .
CitedCN and Another v Poole Borough Council QBD 16-Mar-2016
Appeal against striking out of claim for damages in negligence.
Held: Allowed. The claim should proceed.
The principal issue was whether the decision of the Court of Appeal in D v East Berkshire Community NHS Trust [2003] EWCA Civ 1151; . .
CitedCN and Another v Poole Borough Council CA 21-Dec-2017
The court considered the existence of a tortious duty of care to children, on the part of a local authority, to protect them from harassment and abuse by third parties. The Council appealed against an order re-instating the claims after they had . .
CitedPoole Borough Council v GN and Another SC 6-Jun-2019
This appeal is concerned with the liability of a local authority for what is alleged to have been a negligent failure to exercise its social services functions so as to protect children from harm caused by third parties. The principal question of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other, Professional Negligence, Human Rights

Updated: 11 February 2022; Ref: scu.185264