Vaile v. London Borough of Havering – (Brain Injury)


Practice Areas

Personal Injury

Cases Citation

[2011] EWCA Civ 246

Court of Appeal judgment on breach of duty and causation appeal in assault case

Andrew Prynne QC and Marcus Grant appeared for the Appellant, a special needs teacher assaulted by a 14-year-old pupil on the ASD spectrum. The Respondent, through its headmaster, engaged in a cover-up by fabricating documentary evidence and giving perjured oral evidence in Court, in an attempt to protect itself from criticism that it had not devised and maintained a safe system of work for the Appellant. The Court of Appeal described this conduct as ‘reprehensible’. The Court below found that despite the cover-up, the Claimant failed to establish either a breach of duty or causation. The Court of Appeal overturned both findings. It found that on the Judge’s own primary factual findings there had been a breach of duty. Furthermore, whilst it was difficult for the Claimant to show precisely what the school should have done to avoid the assault, such difficulty did not automatically mean that her claim should fail. There was sufficient evidence to establish on a balance of probability, that but for the multiple breaches in the Respondent’s duty of care to her, she would not have sustained injuries in the assault. Costs of the liability trial were awarded on the indemnity basis.

Related Barristers

Andrew Prynne QC

Andrew Prynne QC
Year of Call: 1975
Year of Silk: 1995

Marcus Grant

Marcus Grant
Year of Call: 1993

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TEMPLE GARDEN CHAMBERS is a market leading set with recognised excellence in a myriad of practice areas with awarded leaders in twelve specialist areas. TGC has the privilege of being well placed in the Temple and The Hague with superb facilities.

Currently consisting of 17 silks and 60 juniors with outstanding leadership and a long established clerking team acknowledged for their exceptional client services and business development, we are keen to expand upon our key areas.

To accommodate the growth in our core practice areas we are inviting applications from established practitioners and/or teams to further enhance our excellent reputation in the following fields:

• Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
• Inquests & Inquiries
• Health & Safety
• Costs & Litigation Funding

TGC is widely recognised for its friendly ethos and its commitment to Equality & Diversity and Wellbeing. We are especially keen to encourage applications from underrepresented groups at the bar – women, people with disabilities, those from ethnic minority groups and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Applications will be treated with the strictest confidence and should be addressed to the Head of Chambers, Keith Morton QC

In advance of any formal application both Keith Morton QC and Dean Norton (Senior Clerk) would be delighted to have a confidential discussion. To arrange a meeting please contact Dean on 020 7842 8641 or