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High Court Rules Catholic Church Is Liable In Child Abuse Case

Decision 'Could Affect Many Abuse Victims'


A landmark High Court decision has confirmed that the Catholic Church can be held liable for the actions of its priests, a ruling likely to affect a number of people bringing child abuse claims.

Mr Justice MacDuff announced the decision in relation to the case of a 47-year-old woman, who was allegedly assaulted by a priest of the Portsmouth Diocese at a Hampshire children’s home.

It was ruled that the Church was “vicariously liable” for the claims, while the Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust has been given leave to appeal on the issue. The decision is expected to have a wide impact in terms of other claims made against the Church.

Tracey Storey, Partner at Irwin Mitchell’s London office, specialises in providing support to victims of child abuse and helping them obtain redress for  the terrible experiences they have endured.
Commenting on the court’s ruling, she said: “Child abuse has an absolutely devastating impact on victims, often leaving them with physical and emotional scars from which they never fully recover.

“The High Court’s  decision on liability is a step towards clarification on how the Church and priests who have  abused children are held to account and is likely to affect a range of claims made in the future.

“We hope this ruling encourages victims of child abuse, who are often find it difficult to come forward and seek justice, to realise that there is hope that those who have abused them or failed to protect them will be held to account.

“In addition, we reiterate calls for the Catholic Church to continue its fight to tackle abuse and better safeguard children from any potential danger.”

Our child abuse solicitors are committed to pursuing cases to the best possible outcome, without causing any additional  psychological trauma to those affected. Call 0370 1500 100 to talk confidentially to someone about making a claim or visit our Abuse & Criminal Injury Claims page for more information.