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Family Law

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05 AUG 2010


(Queen's Bench Division; Thirlwall J; 30 July 2010)

An application by an adult son for damages from his mother in respect of assaults by both parents. The siblings had successfully obtained damages against the father. The claim was dismissed as it was outside the limitation period. The issue was whether the mother owed the son a duty of care at common law.

On the son’s own analysis, the mother’s duty of care could have been discharged only by breaking up the family. Such a duty was novel and should be treated with caution. Given the difficulties family courts had in making decisions as to the care of children, it was undesirable for ordinary civil courts to have to judge retrospectively decisions of a mother about how best to ensure a secure upbringing for her children in context of a claim for damages for negligence.


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