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Henderson v Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust [2018] EWCA Civ 1841

3rd August 2018

Angus Moon QC and Cecily White have been successful in defeating claims against an NHS Trust brought by a woman who killed her mother whilst suffering a psychotic episode, and who was subsequently convicted of manslaughter.  The Trust admitted liability for the woman’s mental health treatment but contended that the doctrine of illegality precluded her claims for damages arising out of her own unlawful act, on grounds of public policy.  The claims were dismissed at first instance and the Claimant appealed.

The Court of Appeal accepted Angus and Cecily’s submissions that the authorities governing the doctrine of illegality in tort (Clunis v Camden and Islington Health Authority [1998] QB 978 and Gray v Thames Trains Ltd [2009] UKHL 33) were binding and have not been impliedly overruled by the more recent judgments of the Supreme Court in Patel v Mirza [2016] UKSC 42.   The appeal was therefore dismissed.

The instructing solicitors were Mark Ashley and Justin Whitmore of DAC Beachcroft and in Mark’s case, NHS Resolution. Judith Ayling of 39 Essex was also a junior in the case.

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