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Andrew Warnock QC Case List

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Goman v Stockport MBC


(Manchester, 2018). Probation officers and social workers did not owe a duty of care to warn a woman and her daughter of her partner’s past history of domestic violence.


James-Bowen v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis


(Supreme Court, appeal heard March 2018, judgment awaited). Acted for the Commissioner in this appeal where the issue is whether an employer owes a duty of care to protect his employee from reputational or economic harm in the way that he defends civil litigation.

Robinson v North Yorkshire County Council [2017] Newcastle


A highway authority had not owed a duty of care to fence a high road and was not responsible for the claimant’s accident in which he fell from a height and sustained spinal injuries.

CFC v Westminster City Council and Others [2016] EWHC 3048.


A local planning authority had not owed a duty of care in relation to enforcement action which it took, nor was it arguably guilty of malicious prosecution.

Edwards v London Borough of Sutton [2016] EWCA Civ 1005


The dangers posed by an ornamental footbridge in a public park were obvious and the risk of an accident remote, so that the local authority was not liable under the Occupiers’ Liability Act for the claimant’s catastrophic injuries.


Chesterton Commercial (Oxon Ltd) v Oxfordshire County Council [2015] EWHC 2020


A local authority had owed a duty of care to a property developer in the performance of a local search

Foulds v Devon County Council [2015] LTL 13/1/2015


A highway authority had not assumed a duty of care to ensure that railings it had placed on the highway were sufficiently strong to withstand a collision by a cyclist.

In the matter of the Estate of Sir James Winston Savile [2014] EWCA 1632.


A Judge had not erred in approving a settlement scheme in respect of claims for sexual abuse brought against the deceased’s estate.

Daniel v Secretary of State for Health


[2014] 2578

A claimant employee had not established that a health trust ought to have foreseen her psychiatric breakdown. Her claim that she was bullied and that her employer had acted in breach of duty was dismissed.

In the Matter of the Administration of the Estate of Jimmy Savile


[2014] EWHC 653

The High Court approved a settlement scheme entered into by the Executors of Jimmy Savile, the BBC, the Secretary of State for Health, Barnardos and claimants who alleged that they were sexually abused by Jimmy Savile.

Bailey v Devon Partnership NHS Trust


[2014] QBD

A consultant psychiatrist’s claim for injury caused by occupational stress was dismissed. Although her employer had been in breach of duty, her illness was not foreseeable and causation was not established.

Furnell v Flaherty


[2013] EWHC 377

A local authority’s environmental health department which had notice of a potential e-coli outbreak did not owe a duty of care to children who contracted the disease while visiting a petting farm.

Lord Hanningfield v Chief Constable of Essex


EWHC [2013] 243

The arrest of the Claimant had not been necessary with the terms of PACE section 24. The Court considered police powers of search under PACE section 32.

Kershaw v Hampshire County Council Winchester CC, April 2013


The court dismissed a claim that social services had negligently failed to remove the Claimant from the care of his mother when he was a child.

Furmedge & Others v Chester-le-Street District Council and Others

[2011] EWHC 1226 (QB)


Events company Brouhaha International Limited found 55% to blame for the incident in this case which involved a large, tent like, inflatable art structure designed by artist Maurice Agis take off in July 2006, killing 2 and injurying many more. The finding was made in contribution proceedings brought by Chester-le-Street District Council, the apportionment of blame being as between those two parties only. Had the now deceased artist, Maurice Agis, been a party to the proceedings it is likely he would have carried most of the blame. However, he was uninsured and had no assets.

Dermott v Harrow London Borough Council

[2011] EWHC 54 (QB)


The decision of a local authority's disciplinary panel that allegations of harassment against a former employee were substantiated showed no flaw in relation to the disciplinary process, the decision reached or the articulation of that decision. Whilst the panel hearing the employee's subsequent appeal had acted in breach of duty by attempting to conceal the real reason for its changed membership, that breach had not made a material contribution to any discrete or discernible deterioration in the employee's psychiatric condition or health.

VL v Oxfordshire County Council

[2010] EWHC 2091


This case raised the interesting and important question of the extent to which a local authority’s child care team (social workers and lawyers) owe a duty to a child in care to make an application on the child’s behalf for criminal injuries compensation.

The claimant had suffered catastrophic injuries at the hand of her father as an infant. She was made the subject of a care order in 1994. In 1997 the Council made an application for compensation for her under the new Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (“CICA”) scheme which was introduced on 1 April 1996. The claimant, represented by the Official Solicitor, alleged that her claim should have been made before 1 April 1996 under the old Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (“CICB”) scheme which the CICA scheme replaced. She would have received substantially higher compensation under the old CICB scheme (potentially millions of pounds higher).

MacKay J rejected her claim. He held that whilst the Council undoubtedly had a power to make a claim for criminal injuries compensation on behalf of the claimant, it did not owe a duty of care in tort to do so. The child care team’s primary focus was on the physical welfare and safety of the claimant and trying to rebuild her family unit, the Council’s child care plan being to rehabilitate the claimant with her parents. The fact that the council saw itself as being under a duty to make criminal injury compensation claims on behalf of children in its care was a factor but was not determinative of the legal position. Imposing a duty to promote the claimant’s financial interests would not be fair just or reasonable given the delicacy of the relationship between the Council and the claimant’s mother, who herself was having difficulty accepting the responsibility of the claimant’s father for the injuries and resented the involvement of social services. The judge also concluded that even if a duty had been owed, it had not been breached as judged by the Bolam standard: on the evidence there had been little publicity concerning the impact of the new scheme at the time it was introduced and a solicitor acting in a local authority child care team could reasonably not have known that the new scheme would adversely affect claims for injuries which had been suffered before it was introduced.

This decision is not being appealed. There have been a number of claims threatened against local authorities in recent years for not making applications for criminal injuries compensation timeously or at all and the case will be of particular interest to those involved in them. Whilst in some respects the decision is fact specific, it is clear that the courts will be wary of imposing a duty which would promote the economic interests of a child over child welfare plans or cut across delicate social work decisions. Moreover, child care solicitors in a local authority’s legal department are not to be judged by the same standard as personal injury solicitors in private practice.

Lord Faulks QC and Andrew Warnock appeared for the Defendant Council.

A v Essex County Council

[2010] UKSC 33; (2010) 3 WLR 509; (2010) 4 All ER 199


A priest's sexual abuse of the claimant had been so closely connected with his employment as a priest that it would be fair and just to hold the archdiocese which had employed him vicariously liable for that abuse.

Connor v Surrey County Council

[2010] EWCA Civ 286; (2010) 3 All ER 905; (2010) 3 WLR 1302


The law would, in an appropriate case, require a duty-ower to fulfil a pre-existing private law duty by the exercise of a public law discretion, but only if that could be done consistently with the duty-ower's full performance of his public law obligations. In the instant case, a local education authority's negligence in failing to establish, pursuant to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 s.14 and s.16A, an interim executive board of school governors had caused one of its employees to suffer personal injury in the form of psychiatric damage.

X & Y v Hounslow London Borough Council

[2009] EWCA Civ 286


A public authority which is trying to exercise its statutory powers and duties does not, without some additional ingredient, assume a responsibility in the law of Tort.  Thus a social worker who visited the claimant was merely performing her statutory duty which did not itself give rise to a private law cause of action.

A and Others v Essex County Council and Others

[2007] EWHC 1652


Human rights claim by pupils.  Issues included whether the claimant could claim for the cost of repair or the cost of demolition and rebuilding, and CPR Part 36.

McGlinn v HTA & Ors

[2007] EWHC 698 (TCC)


The Claimant was awarded 45% of his costs despite having beaten a Part 36 payment.  He was also ordered to pay 25% of the Defendant's costs.  In a judgment illustrating the breadth of the court's discretion on costs under the CPR, the Judge ruled that although the Claimant had substantially succeeded on liability, the Defendant was the substantial victor on causation and quantum.

Appiah & Anor v Bishop Douglass Roman Catholic High School Governors

LTL 26/1/2007; [2007] EWCA Civ 10


The Court of Appeal found that in claims of race discrimination and victimisation, the mere establishment of a difference of race and treatment was not enough to cause the burden of proof to be transferred under the Race Relations Act 1976 s. 57ZA, and if a claimant had not at least established facts from which a prima facie case of discrimination could be inferred

B (1) B (2) v A County Council

LTL 21/11/2006; [2006] EWCA Civ 1388


In the circumstances the judge was correct to hold that a local authority owed a duty of care towards an adopting family to ensure that the terms of its confidentiality undertaking as to the adopting family's identity were respected by its employees. However, it was right that the family's negligence action should be dismissed, because it had not been proved that it had been subjected to a campaign of harassment that was the damage on which the action depended.

Lawrence v Cambridge County Council

LTL 29/8/2006; [2005] EWHC 3189; [2006] ELR 343


A school's policy forbidding pushchair access did not discriminate against a disabled child under the age of two who was not allowed into the building while in his pushchair.

Marr v Lambeth London Borough Council

LTL 1/6/2006 (unreported elsewhere)


A claim for damages for negligence in educational provision amounted in reality to an action for breach of statutory duty in disguise or an action based on a general claim of inadequate teaching or even an inadequate educational system. Such allegations of negligence in relation to the claim were either not made out or to the limited extent that they might be made out had caused no loss.

Ali v Lord Grey School

LTL 22/3/2006; [2006] 2 WLR 690; [2006] 2 All ER 457; [2006] HRLR 20; [2006] UKH L14; Times, March 22, 2006; Independent, March 28, 2006;


The House of Lords held that the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 Protocol 1 Art. 2 did not confer a right to be educated at a particular school but rather conferred a right not to be denied access to the general level of educational provision available in the Member State.  On the evidence a pupil had not been excluded from school education in breach of his Convention rights in circumstances where he had chosen not to take up the school’s invitation to attend a meeting to re-admit him to the school, nor its offers to provide work for him to do from home and to arrange alternative tuition.

C v D (1) SBA (2)

LTL 2/3/2006; [2006] EWHC 166


A headmaster was liable under the principle in Wilkinson v Downton (1897) 2 QB 57 for psychiatric injury caused by an act of sexual abuse against a pupil that had not involved touching.

Carty v Croydon London Borough

LTL 27/1/2005; [2005] EWCA Civ 19 [CA]; [2005] 1 WLR 2312; [2005] 2 All ER 517; 2005 LGR 319; Times, February 3, 2005.


Case considered the issues of: liability of Local Authority in claim against Education Officer; scope of the duty of care.

DN (by his father and litigation friend RN) v Greenwich London Borough

LTL 8/12/2004; [2005] BLGR 597; [2004] EWCA Civ 1659; Times, December 23, 2004


A local education authority was liable for the negligence of an educational psychologist who had failed, among other things, to identify the claimant

Adams v Bracknell Forest Borough Council

LTL 17/6/2004; [2005] 1 AC 76; [2004] 3 WLR 89; [2004] 3 All ER 897; [2004] ELR 459; [2005] PIQR P2; [2004] 101(26) LSG 28; [2004] UK HL 29 Times, June 24, 2004


There was no reason why the normal expectation that a person suffering from a significant injury would be curious about its origins should not also apply to dyslexics. Therefore, on the facts of the instant case, the claimant’s date of constructive knowledge was well before three years before issue of the writ and his claim was thus statute-barred under the Limitation Act 1980 s. 11.

A (1) B (2) v Essex County Council

LTL 17/12/2003; [2004] 1 WLR 1881; [2004] 1 FLR 749; EWCA Civ 1848 Times, January 22, 2004; Independent, January 16, 2004


It was not fair, just and reasonable to impose on professionals involved in compiling reports for adoption agencies a duty of care towards prospective adopters. However, adoption agencies had a duty to communicate to prospective adopters information which the agencies decided that they should have.

Bradford-Smart v West Sussex County Council

LTL 23/1/2002; [2002] ELR 139; [2002] EWCA Civ 07; Times, January 29, 2002; Independent, January 29, 2002


An unsuccessful appeal from a finding that a local authority was not in breach of its duty to a school pupil by failing to prevent the pupil from being bullied outside school. However, the Court of Appeal recognised that a school might occasionally be in breach of duty for failing to take steps within its power to combat the harmful behaviour of one pupil towards another outside school.

Grimm v Newman & Anor

LTL 12/11/2001; [2002] STC 84 (Ch) [CA]; [2003] 1 All ER 67


Case considered the issues of: accountant’s negligence in relation to tax advice; proof of causation; duty to advise of risks inherent in tax avoidance scheme; late amendment of particulars of claim.

Ogle v Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police

LTL 6/4/2001; [2001] EWCA Civ 598


A claim for damages for alarm and "distress", brought against a police force for failure to maintain an up-to-date PNC record, would be an abuse of process because there was no real prospect of success and the appellant could neither claim for "distress" nor claim under a discrete head of damage.

L (A Minor) (1) P (Father) (2) v Reading Borough Council (1) Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police (2)

LTL 12/3/2001; (2001) 1 WLR 1575; (2001) 2 FLR 50


It was arguable that there was sufficient proximity in an interview between a police officer and a suspected child victim for a duty of care to have arisen. It was also arguable that a suspect was owed a duty of care where there had been no evidence to support criminal proceedings yet a police officer had concluded that a complaint of child abuse was of sufficient substance that the child was at risk of abuse from the suspect. Further, it was arguable that witness immunity should not have been used to shield the police from suit whilst acting as law enforcers or investigators and a decision to the contrary could have been disproportionate to the public interest both under common law and the jurisprudence of the Convention.

Leeds & Holbeck Building Society v Ellis

LTL 5/10/2000 (unreported)


In assessing whether proposed amendments to a statement of claim amounted to a new cause of action it was necessary to consider the circumstances in which the application to amend had been made and to consider the pleading as a whole.

Leeds & Holbeck Building Society v Mark Ellis

LTL 5/10/2000 (unreported)


In assessing whether proposed amendments to a statement of claim amounted to a new cause of action it was necessary to consider the circumstances in which the application to amend had been made and to consider the pleading as a whole.

Phelps v Hillingdon London Borough Council; and associated cases

LTL 27/7/2000; [2002] 1 AC 619; [2000] LGR 651; [2000] 3 WLR 776; [2000] 4 All ER 504; [2000] 56 BMLR 1; Times, July 28, 2000; Independent, November 13, 2000


A local education authority could be vicariously liable for the negligent acts and omissions of its employees, including educational psychologists and teachers, that caused loss, injury or damage to their students.

W & Ors v Essex County Council & Anor

LTL 16/3/2000; [2000] 2 WLR 601; [2000] 2 All ER 237; [2000] 1 FLR 657; [2000] LGR 281; [2000] 53 BMLR 1; Times, March 17, 2000


The issue in a strike out application was whether, if the facts were proved, the claim must still fail, and it was not enough to recognise that the claimants might have difficulties in establishing their claim. Foster parents who claimed psychiatric illness due to the abuse of their children by a child placed in their care by the council, could pursue their claim for damages against the council and social worker to trial.

Burt v Wells

LTL 26/7/99 (unreported elsewhere)


Where on an interlocutory application, defendants were awarded their costs in any event and the plaintiff was legally aided it was wrong to make a wasted costs order against the plaintiff's solicitors; the correct course was to bring to the attention of the costs officer the provisions of reg.109 Civil Legal Aid (General) Regulations 1989 which entitled him to disallow wasted costs or reduce the bill.

Darragh & Ors v Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police

LTL 16/10/98; Times, October 20, 1998


In the light of the volume and complexity of documents in the case, the judge was right to conclude that the matter would involve prolonged examination of scientific investigations and was not, therefore, a suitable case to be tried by jury.