T v Surrey County Council and Others: QBD 21 Jan 1994

The mother of T, an injured baby who was under a year old, sued the council for failing to cancel the registration of a child minder who had previously cared for S, a four-month old child who suffered serious injury probably through shaking, and for negligent misstatement in stating that it knew of no reason why the baby could not safely be left with that child minder. The council had been unable to resolve whether the child minder had caused the injury to S and had not cancelled her registration, but advised her that she should consider minding children between the ages of two and five in future.
Held: The Authority were liable in negligence after giving a satisfactory reference for a child minder who was under suspicion of abuse. Whilst no duty of care was owed in relation to the discharge of statutory duties concerning the registration and de-registration of child minders, but that a duty did arise and was breached in respect of the statement that the council knew of no reason why T could not safely be left with the child minder. It was a voluntary statement relating to matters only known to the council through the performance of its statutory duty, and it was held to be a negligent misstatement.
Obiter, Scott Baker J said there would have been no liability if the council had simply told T’s mother that the child-minder was a registered child-minder.


Scott Baker J


Independent 21-Jan-1994, [1994] 4 All ER 577


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedWelton, Welton v North Cornwall District Council CA 17-Jul-1996
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CitedThe Law Society of England and Wales v Schubert Murphy (A Firm) CA 25-Aug-2017
The solicitors had made use of the online facility provided by the appellant Law Society to verify the bona fides of a firm of solicitors acting for a third party to a transaction. Relying upon the information, they suffered losses, and claimed in . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 05 May 2022; Ref: scu.89680