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Judgement to be handed down in the case of our client NA (Armes) –v- Nottinghamshire County Council.

Posted on: October 12, 2017

Judgement in the case of our client NA (Armes) –v- Nottinghamshire County Council is due to be handed down by the Supreme Court on Wednesday the 18 October 2017 at 9.45 am.

The appeal focuses on the liability of Local Authorities for the actions of foster parents. The key issue to be decided by the Supreme Court is whether the Local Authority, Nottinghamshire County Council, who placed Ms Armes into foster care is liable in respect of the physical and sexual abuse suffered by her and perpetrated by her foster carers.

The Supreme Court heard the case over two days in February 2017.

Ms Armes, during her childhood, was placed in the care of Nottinghamshire County Council. During her time in care she was placed with two sets of foster parents, Mr and Mrs Allison between March 1985 and March 1986, and with Mr and Mrs Blakely between October 1987 and February 1988. During her time in these placements she was physically abused by Mrs Allison and sexually abused by Mr Blakely.

It was Ms Armes’ case that the abuse had occurred through the negligence of the Local Authority or in the alternative that Nottinghamshire County Council were liable for the abuse under the legal principal of vicarious liability and/or the principal of a non-delegable duty of care.

The matter came before The Honourable Mr Justice Males in the High Court in 2014 (Armes v Nottinghamshire County Council [2014] EWHC 4005 (QB)). The Judge found that Ms Armes had been abused by her foster parents, specifically, Mrs Allison physically and Mr Blakely, sexually, but Nottinghamshire County Council could not as the law stood be liable for that abuse. Ms Armes appealed the matter to the Court of Appeal.

The matter came before the Court of Appeal in 2015 (Armes v Nottinghamshire County Council [2015] EWCA Civ 1139) on appeal. The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the High Court Judge. Ms Armes appealed, and the matter has now come before the Supreme Court.
The judgement of the Supreme Court is a long awaited clarification of the law relating to the liability of Local Authorities in connection with the abusive acts of foster parents and thus in turn the relationship between foster carers and the Local Authority.

All enquiries should be directed to Mr Billhar S Uppal (buppal@uppaltaylor.com) or Mrs Francesca Paul (fpaul@uppaltaylor.com)

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