Liability of Educational authorities (Essex County Council) to pupils in their (educational) care

Please find attached a Note and link to the case of Woodland v Essex County Council [2013] UKSC 66 recently decided in the Supreme Court; extending the ambit of the educational authority’s liability (via the educational function of the schools) to school pupils for personal injury (in this tragic case, catastrophic hypoxic brain injury) on the basis of the educational authority’s ‘non-delegable’ duty of care.

The extension (or if preferred, redefinition) of the educational authority’s non-delegable duty now covers the negligence of independent contractors engaged in work that the schools would ordinarily have carried out themselves (usually via their direct employees) – in this case swimming lessons to primary school pupils. Swimming lessons, were on the available evidence, part of the national curriculum. The case, replete with tragic consequences, will be remitted back to the High Court for trial, but the Supreme Court in its judgment appears to have found the Defendant with the ‘deepest pocket’ for the Claimant to bring an action against.

Click to access UKSC_2012_0093_PressSummary.pdf

Click to access UKSC_2012_0093_Judgment.pdf

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