Wronged parents denied right to sue

Social workers and doctors who wrongly accuse parents of harming
their children must be protected from being sued to ensure
children’s safety, the House of Lords has ruled.

The Law Lords rejected appeals by three parents who had previously
been wrongly accused of harming their children and were seeking the
right to sue doctors and social workers for the “psychiatric

Lord Brown acknowledged the “legitimate grievances” of parents but
said denying them the right to sue professionals whose job it was
to protect children was “a price they pay in the interests of
children generally”.

Social workers and doctors’ duty to protect the welfare of children
was “imperative” and outweighed the need for parents to vindicate
their reputation.

He added that to give parents the power to sue such professionals
could lead to the “suppression of doubts and instincts which in the
child’s interests ought rather to be encouraged.”

Meanwhile, paediatrician Sir Roy Meadow will appear before the
General Medical Council in June accused of serious professional

Meadow’s Munchausen syndrome by proxy theory was discredited
following the acquittal of mothers Sally Clark and Angela Cannings,
who were jailed for killing their babies on the basis of Meadow’s
expert evidence.

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