Louis Browne QC of Exchange Chambers recently acted for the Ministry of Justice in an action brought by LG on her own behalf and on behalf of her daughter, BH.
In this action, which lasted 6 days, they claimed damages in negligence and for breaches of Articles 3 and 8 of ECHR. They alleged that the Probation Service owed to them a duty of care at law to protect them from harm caused by LG’s former partner, a Client of the Probation Service.
The Probation Service, relying upon a line of cases culminating in the Supreme Court decisions of Michael v CC South Wales Police UKSC 2 and Robinson v CC West Yorkshire Police UKSC 4 argued that it had no liability as the relevant provisions of the Offender Management Act 2007 were incompatible with the duty of care contended for. Further, there could be no liability on the facts here for any alleged careless omissions to prevent harm caused by third parties.
In his judgment dismissing the claims, HHJ Sephton QC agreed. He also found that the claim failed in causation. The case is an important restatement of the applicable principles of tort operating in this interesting area.
Louis Browne QC was instructed by the Government Legal Department.