Probation officers and social workers did not owe a duty of care to warn a woman of her partner’s past history of domestic violence. HHJ Sephton QC so held in Goman v Stockport MBC, judgment 20 March 2018. The case is thought to have to been the first claim against social workers to have been tried following the Court of Appeal’s recent decision in CN v Poole. The Judge rejected an argument that the Supreme Court’s decision in Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police implicitly overruled CN v Poole; on the contrary the application of ordinary common law principles (as endorsed in Robinson) led to the conclusion that no duty of care was owed. The Judge further rejected a claim under the Human Rights Act 1998, holding that the high threshold for liability under that Act was not met. He also held that the Claimant and her daughter had not established that the giving of an earlier warning would have prevented the assaults in respect of which they sued.

Andrew Warnock QC, instructed by BLM, represented Stockport MBC