Claiming compensation after abuse by foster parents

Judgement was recently handed down by the Supreme Court on the eagerly awaited case of Armes v Nottinghamshire County Council [2017] UKSC 60. The claimant in the case was physically and sexually abused by foster parents, having been placed in their care by the local authority.

Local authorities are responsible for selecting and training foster carers and have responsibility for ongoing assessments of the carers; they retain a significant degree of control over the foster carers and the decisions they make. The Supreme Court has now held that the relationship between a local authority and a foster carer is sufficient to allow victims of abuse to claim compensation from the local authority, meaning that they can be held vicariously liable for the torts of foster carers against children in their care. 

This case is now good authority for claims being brought on behalf of survivors of child abuse suffered at the hands of foster carers, meaning that justice can be brought on their behalf for failings to ensure their well-being. It is also a precedent for other claims brought on behalf of survivors where there was knowledge by the local authority of neglect or abuse.

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