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Family Law

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04 JUL 2008

NEGLIGENCE/SEXUAL ABUSE: A (Historic Child Abuse) v Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council [2008] EWCA Civ 783

(Court of Appeal; May, Keene and Smith LJJ; 4 July 2008)

While it was not the case that in every case of abuse the victim must be taken to have known at the time that he had suffered a significant injury, a person who had been raped, whether vaginally or anally, must know that he or she had suffered not only a grave wrong but also a significant injury. Applying the objective test set out in A v Hoare; Young v Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) [2008] UKHL 6, the claimant had therefore known at all times after it occurred that the abuse amounted to a significant injury. He would not have known of his own knowledge whether it was worth bringing an action, but he would at least have known enough to make it reasonable to expect him to consult a solicitor. The limitation period had therefore expired. It was for the court below to consider whether or not to exercise the discretion to disapply the limitation provisions in this case.

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