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High Court decision will allow boys to sue over harassment

Human rights lawyer welcomes judgment that opens way for legal action

Posted on 17 March 2016

Two boys, one of whom who is severely disabled, have won the right to bring a legal claim against Poole Borough Council.

The boys, known only as CN and GN, were represented by human rights solicitor Emma Jones.  

CN and GN say that they suffered harassment and threats from a “delinquent” neighbour who lived next to them on the council estate they lived on as children, suffering constant threats and episodes of anti-social behaviour.

The High Court heard that during the harassment GN attempted suicide, and the boy’s legal team argued that their childhood was ruined because of the harassment they faced.

CN and GN argued that Poole Borough Council had failed to protect them from injury.
The Council faced claims that it failed in its common law duty of care to protect CN and GN while they lived on the Grange estate; that it failed its statutory duty under the Children Act 1989 ss.17 and 47 to safeguard the welfare and promote the upbringing of all children in their area; and that did not ensure co-operation between local authorities and other agencies to promote the wellbeing and safety of the children in their area.

In 2015 a High Court official ruled the council owed no duty of care, but a Mrs Justice Slade has now overturned this decision.

The boys will now be able to sue Poole Borough Council for compensation for the physical and psychological damage they say they have suffered.

Human rights solicitor Emma Jones said:

“CN and GN suffered the most difficult circumstances when they were living on an estate next to a family who had carried out criminal and anti-social act that had been reported to Poole Borough Council before the family moved in.

“This was a vulnerable family which included a disabled child and the Council should have protected them from a foreseeable risk of harm.

“I am pleased that this judgment will allow CN and GN will now be able to bring a claim for compensation at a full trial against Poole Borough Council after suffering from years of harassment.”