W 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 out the claim. It was actionable. The psychiatric damage pleaded was not necessarily too remote. That would be a matter for the judge at trial. ‘Whether the nature of the council’s task is such that the court should not recognise an actionable duty of care, in other words that the claim is not justiciable, and whether there is a breach of the duty depend, in the first place, on an investigation of the full facts known to, and the factors influencing the decision of, the defendants.’
Lord Slynn of Hadley
Gazette 30-Mar-2000, Times 17-Mar-2000, [2000] UKHL 17, [2000] 2 All ER 237, [2000] 2 WLR 601, [2001] 2 AC 592, [2000] 1 FLR 657, [2000] 1 FCR 568, (2000) 53 BMLR 1, [2000] BLGR 281
HL, Bailii
England and Wales
Appeal fromW 1-6 v Essex County Council and Another CA 2-Apr-1998
A Local Authority had a duty of care to a fostering family when allocating children. A child was known to have a history of sexual abuse and was fostered with a family with other children, and no warning had been given.
Foster parents sued the . .

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 . .
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.
CitedPhelps v Hillingdon London Borough Council; Anderton v Clwyd County Council; Gower v Bromley London Borough Council; Jarvis v Hampshire County Council HL 28-Jul-2000
The plaintiffs each complained of negligent decisions in his or her education made by the defendant local authorities. In three of them the Court of Appeal had struck out the plaintiff’s claim and in only one had it been allowed to proceed.
CitedMitchell and Another v Glasgow City Council HL 18-Feb-2009
(Scotland) The pursuers were the widow and daughter of a tenant of the respondent who had been violently killed by his neighbour. They said that the respondent, knowing of the neighbour’s violent behaviours had a duty of care to the deceased and . .
CitedTaylor v A Novo (UK) Ltd CA 18-Mar-2013
The deceased had suffered a head injury at work from the defendant’s admitted negligence. She had been making a good recovery but then collapsed and died at home from pulmonary emboli, and thrombosis which were a consequence of the injury. The . .
CitedPaul and Another v The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust QBD 4-Jun-2020
Nervous shock – liability to third parties
The claimants witnessed the death of their father from a heart attack. They said that the defendant’s negligent treatment allowed the attack to take place. Difficult point of law about the circumstances in which a defendant who owes a duty of care . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 October 2021; Ref: scu.90209