Victims of physical and sexual abuse may be able to pursue compensation claims many years later, following a landmark ruling in the House of Lords.
Until now, people claiming to have suffered child abuse have been forced to take actions against their abusers within six years of turning 18.
The ruling yesterday means that social care employers could face a number of compensation claims from people who say they were abused in the care system.
Law lords ruled that five appeal cases should now been sent back to the High Court so a decision can be made about whether claims for compensation should be heard.
Sarah Erwin-Jones, Partner in the Social Care Team at Browne Jacobson, which represented people in three of the appeal cases, said “This decision has fundamentally changed the existing law on how long claimants have to bring a claim. It is understandable that those who have been convicted of abusing people should be liable to pay compensation to their victims.
“However the House of Lords did make it clear that by no means everyone who brings a late claim for sexual abuse, however genuine, will be able to reasonably expect the court to allow them to bring a claim out of time. How this will work in practice will depend on the facts of each individual case. It is to be hoped that in a year or two, we will see how the court applies its powers and uses those judgments to assess how future cases are likely to fare.”