M & Others v Surrey County Council [2001]

Negligence – breach of statutory duty – abuse – proximity

Claims for breach of duty and/or negligence against a local authority regarding sexual abuse caused by a 13-year-old boy who lived close to the claimants were struck out on the ground that they did not establish an arguable case of proximity necessary for a duty of care to be imposed. On the facts alleged, the claimants had not established that they came within a special, exceptional or distinctive category of risk. The claimants were simply members of a wide category of members of the general public and the council, which was not the local housing authority, did not know of any friendship or association between the abuser and any of the claimants.

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