A B & Ors v Liverpool City Council & Ors, Court of Appeal - Civil Division, June 15, 1998, [1998] EWCA Civ 1000

Resolution Date:June 15, 1998
Issuing Organization:Civil Division
Actores:A B & Ors v Liverpool City Council & Ors
 
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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE LTA 98/5058/1 5059/1

COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION) 5078/1 5089/1 5090/1

ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION

MANCHESTER DISTRICT REGISTRY Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London WC2

Monday, 15th June 1998

B e f o r e :

LORD JUSTICE NOURSE and

LORD JUSTICE MAY

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A B & OTHERS Plaintiffs/Respondents

-v-

(1) LIVERPOOL CITY COUNCIL

(2) THE NUGENT CARE SOCIETY

(Formerly Catholic Social Services [Liverpool])

(3) TRUSTEES OF THE NATIONAL CHILDREN'S HOME

AND ORPHANAGE REGISTERED

Defendants/Applicants

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Computer Aided Transcript of the Palantype Notes of

Smith Bernal Reporting Limited

180 Fleet Street London EC4A 2HD

Tel: 0171 421 4040 Fax: 0171 831 8838

(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

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MR W G BELLIS (instructed by Head of Legal Services Agency, Liverpool City Council) appeared on behalf of the Applicant First Defendant.

MR E FAULKS QC and MR N FEWTRELL (instructed by Messrs Hill Dickinson, Liverpool) appeared on behalf of the Applicant Second Defendant.

MR S GRIME QC (instructed by Messrs Berrymans Lace Mawer, Manchester) appeared on behalf of the Applicant Third Defendant.

THE RESPONDENT PLAINTIFFS were not represented.

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J U D G M E N T

(As Approved by the Court)

Crown Copyright

Monday, 15th June 1998

LORD JUSTICE NOURSE: Lord Justice May will deliver the first judgment.

LORD JUSTICE MAY: These are renewed applications on behalf of the Nugent Care Society, Liverpool City Council and the National Children's Home for leave to appeal against the decision of Mr Justice Forbes on 17th November 1997 in proceedings in the High Court in Manchester, leave having been refused by Lord Justice Judge on paper.

The actions concern sexual and physical abuse alleged to have been suffered by residents at a number of children's homes in the north-west of England. Some of these allegations go back a long time in that some of the plaintiffs were born in the 1950s and are now middle aged. Others were born in the 1970s and in between those dates. The claims came to light and are related to a number of fairly recent criminal prosecutions which have resulted in convictions and, for some individual defendants in those proceedings, long terms of imprisonment. There is a large number of plaintiffs in these proceedings, perhaps about 100 in all, and the proceedings are a species of group action which is being managed by Mr Justice Forbes and Mr Justice Kay in Manchester.

On 31st January 1997 writs were issued naming the plaintiffs simply as "A B and Others". On 30th July 1997 an application was made to strike out the writs as nullities on the basis that the writs had been issued in the names of non-existent plaintiffs. Mr Justice Forbes dismissed this application on the same day. He held that the writs were not nullities but irregular and that the irregularity might possibly be cured by amendment. There was no appeal against that decision.

The applications which he decided on 17th November 1997, and which are the subject of today's applications, were to amend the writs by adding to the title the names of each of the plaintiffs for whom the expression "A B and Others" had originally been used as a pseudonym. The practical effect of the amendments, apart from questions of costs, was to fix the date when the proceedings began for limitation and perhaps other purposes as 31st January 1997, the date of the original writs. Protective additional...

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