Ann Houghton and Rankeshwar Batta were involved in a landmark case this year which addressed parental responsibility to supervise a child injured in a road accident caused by another person.

In a change from our usual work representing the injured party, Ann and Rankey successfully defended a mother joined as a co-defendant to her child’s compensation claim.

We became involved when the insurer of the defendant – a speeding driver – alleged the child’s mother was to blame for the life-changing injuries her son suffered when he was hit by the driver, because she allowed him to play in a nearby park without an adult. This, they alleged, amounted to a negligent failure to care for her son. This argument had not been tested in the court before and, if the defendant was successful, could have had very serious consequences for the child, his mother and other injured children in the future.

The potential implications for individuals, communities and society led us to take the decision to represent the defendant mother.

The facts of the case are described in more detail here.

The court dismissed the claim against our client, finding her to be “a responsible mother who took proper care” for her son’s safety. This means our client will be properly compensated for the care she has provided to her injured son over many years.

The landmark decision should also protect other children and parents in similar situations in the future: in her decision Mrs Justice Yip gave a clear warning to insurance companies to think very carefully before joining in parents as co-defendants in such cases in the future. Her decision recognised that responsible parenting comes in many forms, encompassing a range of approaches and is not based on prescriptive rules.

The case and our work has received national coverage.

For more information

For more information on matters relating to this case, please contact Ann Houghton or Rankeshwar Batta.

Contract management pitfalls – payment
Contract management pitfalls – payment

In the second part of our series on contract management pitfalls, we look at the risks and opportunities presented by payment mechanisms in construction contracts.