The Court of Appeal gave judgment in NA v Nottinghamshire County Council [2015] EWCA Civ 1139  at the end of 2015.

In brief, the facts were that between 1985 and 1986 one set of foster carers, then in between 1987 and 1988, another set of foster carers,

abused a child in their care, who was the same child. The child was the Claimant, claiming that the Local Authority was vicariously liable for the foster parents, and under a non-delegable duty to ensure that the young girl was protected from harm.

These claims were rejected by the High Court Judge, and the lawyers for the child sought to appeal that decision in the Court of Appeal.  LJ Tomlinson in the Court of Appeal found that the Local Authority was not vicariously responsible for the foster parents’ actions because the provision of family life was not by definition, part of the Local Authority.

In respect of whether or not the Local Authority had a non-delegable duty of care to the child, LJ Tomlinson found against this, i.e. that the Local Authority was not responsible for the actions of the foster parents. This is largely because fostering was a function, which the Local Authority had to entrust to others and that it would be unprincipled for ‘no fault’ liability to be attached to a placement with foster parents, when none would attach to natural parents. It is understood that the claimant is seeing permission to appeal this decision in the Supreme Court.

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