Category Archives: Court of Appeal

Supreme Court to consider Council role in protecting vulnerable children

The Supreme Court is to hear a landmark case which could have an impact on the rights of thousands of abuse victims.

It concerns two people, known as CN and GN, who allege that, between 2006 and 2011, Poole Borough Council did not do enough to protect them as children from “harassment and worse” from their neighbours.

They claim that before they and their mother were placed in housing, the authority was aware that a “delinquent” family lived nearby who engaged in persistently anti-social behaviour.

This family repeatedly subjected CN and GN to significant harassment and abuse, and CN – who has severe physical and learning difficulties – attempted suicide.

CN and GN brought claims against the council for breach of a common law duty of care derived from statutory duties under the Children Act 1989 but, in 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled against them.

Before the appeal on Monday, Emma Jones from the team at Leigh Day, who represent GN and CN, said: “We hope that the Supreme Court rectify the current ruling by the Court of Appeal which sees the protection of children returned to the ‘washing your hands’ approach to vulnerable children witnessed in the 1990s and which has been attributed to scandals such as occurred in Rotherham.

“Local authorities must be compelled by law to protect children for whom they have responsibility and the best way to ensure that they carry out these duties is for them to be held to account, through the law, if they fall short.”

Article 39, which fights for the rights of children and young people who live in children’s homes, prisons and other institutions, and the Care Leavers’ Association, which supports care leavers of all ages, have been given permission to make representations.

Peter Garsden, of law firm Simpson Millar, which is representing the charities, said: “This appeal raises issues of very great public importance, concerning whether a local authority is responsible for protecting young people and children who may not be in a care institution, but are known to be at risk – either from sexual, physical or emotional abuse.

“It affects some of the most vulnerable members of our society and will have far reaching ramifications, and it is absolutely vital that the law is clarified so that abuse survivors can get the answers and access to justice that they deserve, and that will allow them to start to move forward with their lives.”

Strict prison smoking ban could risk staff and inmate safety, Government tells court

A “particularly vigorous” ban on smoking in state-run prisons could cause discipline problems and risk the safety of staff and prisoners, the Government has told the Court of Appeal. Justice Secretary Michael Gove is challenging a High Court declaration that the legal ban on smoking in public places applies to state prisons and all Crown… Continue Reading

Unduly lenient sentence doubled

A man who virtually decapitated his girlfriend with a bread knife while he was drunk has had his jail sentence doubled. Judges at the Court of Appeal in London overturned the “unduly lenient” six-year prison term imposed in the case of James Richardson and increased it to 12 years. Richardson, 35, of Berridge Green, Edgware,… Continue Reading

Open Prison Absconder Policy Upheld On Appeal

A High Court ruling that a policy of excluding prisoners with a history of absconding from being transferred to more lenient open conditions is unlawful has been overturned. The Government’s policy was introduced following high-profile media reports last year of prisoners with a history of violence absconding while on release on temporary licence (ROTL) from… Continue Reading

Life sentence prisoner freed by Court of Appeal – despite danger

A “very dangerous” sex offender has been released after leading judges ruled that the indefinite jail term handed down in his case was “unlawful”. The Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, Mr Justice Coulson and Mr Justice Gilbart, sitting at the Court of Appeal in London, quashed the sentence of “imprisonment for public protection” (IPP) imposed… Continue Reading

Judges warn lack of legal aid increasing burden on courts

A rise in the number of people representing themselves in person at Court of Appeal hearings is posing an “increasing problem”, a leading judge has warned. Lady Justice Black – who sits in the Court of Appeal – said the task facing judges was “infinitely more difficult” when people were not represented by lawyers. She… Continue Reading

Court rules that prisons are vicariously liable for prisoners working in kitchens

Landmark case: The Court of Appeal has ruled that the Ministry of Justice are liable in damages for injuries caused to others by prisoners working in prison kitchens. The Ministry of Justice is seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. Judgement here Continue Reading

‘Whole Life’ Sentences Lawful Says Court – But ‘Right Wing’ Say Critics –

Leading judges gave a crucial ruling backing the use of whole-life sentences today – which was criticised as ‘right wing’ by commentators. A panel of five judges, headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, announced their decision on controversial “life-means-life” orders at the Court of Appeal in London. The judges increased the 40-year minimum… Continue Reading

Court Due To Rule on Stop & Search

The Court of Appeal is to rule today on a challenge over the legality of random stop-and-search powers aimed at tackling street violence. The Metropolitan Police have been accused of breaching human rights laws by using the controversial powers against a disproportionately high number of black Londoners. Ann Juliette Roberts, 39, of Upper Edmonton, north… Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE! Corrupt Prison Officers Lose Appeal

Three corrupt female prison officers, one of who had sexual intercourse with a convicted rapist three times inside a maximum security prison, have lost their appeals against conviction. Karen Cosford (above), 47, had sex with inmate Brian McBride, who was serving a life sentence at Wakefield Prison, during a relationship that lasted several months had… Continue Reading