Whether the statute provided other remedies for its breach and whether on the true construction of the statute it was shown that the protected class was intended by Parliament to have a private remedy were indicia of whether a private law cause of action lay for breach of a statutory duty; Cutler v Wandsworth Stadium Ltd  1 All ER 544 and Lonrho Ltd v Shell Petroleum Co Ltd (No 2)  2 All ER 456 applied.
(3) The mere assertion of the careless exercise of a statutory power or duty was not sufficient in itself to give rise to a private law cause of action.
HEADNOTE: In two separate sets of appeals the issue was whether the careless performance by a local authority of its statutory duties relating to the education and welfare of children could found an action for negligence by children adversely affected by the local authority’s actions.
The first group of appeals (the abuse cases) concerned the action or inaction of local authorities in relation to children who were suspected of being abused.
Action – Immunity from civil action – Witness – Expert witness – Extent of immunity from civil action – Psychiatrist interviewing child suspected of having been sexually abused at request of local authority -Whether psychiatrist entitled to immunity from action for negligence: X and others (minors) v Bedfordshire County Council; M (a minor) and another v Newham London Borough Council and others; E (a minor) v Dorset County Council;and other appeals; HOUSE OF LORDS, (United Kingdom) X and others (minors) v Bedfordshire County Council; M (a minor) and another v Newham London Borough Council and others; E (a minor) v Dorset County Council;and other appeals; HOUSE OF LORDS  2 AC 633,  3 All ER 353,  2 FLR 276,  3 WLR 152, 26 BMLR 15,  Fam Law 537,  3 FCR 337, 94 LGR 313 HEARING-DATES: 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27 October 1994, 29 June 1995 29 June 1995 CATCHWORDS: Local authority – Statutory duty – Breach of statutory duty – Careless performance of statutory duty – Exercise of statutory discretion – Justiciability of decisions involving policy matters – Application of principles of negligence – Whether fair, just and reasonable to impose duty of care.
Action – Immunity from civil action – Witness – Expert witness – Extent of immunity from civil action – Psychiatrist interviewing child suspected of having been sexually abused at request of local authority -Whether psychiatrist entitled to immunity from action for negligence.
Child – Welfare – Local authority – Local authorities’ statutory duties in relation to welfare of children – Local authorities failing to take plaintiff children into care – Children suffering ill-treatment and impairment of health – Whether children and parents affected by breach of statutory duty having right of action – Children and Young Persons Act 1969 – Child Care Act 1980 – Children Act 1989.
Education – Local education authority – Statutory duty to provide special education – Breach – Right of action for damages – Local education authority failing to assess and provide for special educational needs – Plaintiff suffering consequent damage – Whether plaintiff entitled to bring private law claim for damages – Whether plaintiff limited to administrative channels for redress – Education Act 1944, s 8 – Education Act 1981, s 7.
In the third case the plaintiff alleged that although he did not have any serious disability and was of at least average ability the local education authority had either placed him in special schools which were not appropriate to his educational needs or had failed to provide any schooling for him at all with the result that his personal and intellectual development had been impaired and he had been placed at a disadvantage in seeking employment.
The child in fact intended to refer to a cousin with the same first name who had previously lived at the mother’s address but it was not until the mother saw for the first time, in subsequent proceedings, a transcript of the child’s interview with the psychiatrist and the social worker that she realised that the child had not identified her boyfriend as the abuser and that there was no evidence to support that conclusion.
The local authority accepted that fact and took steps to rehabilitate the child with the mother and her boyfriend.
The plaintiffs in both cases appealed to the House of Lords The second group of appeals (the education cases) concerned the action or inaction of local authorities in relation to the provision of education for children with special educational needs.
In the first case the plaintiff alleged that his local education authority had failed to ascertain that he suffered from a learning disorder which required special educational provision, that it had wrongly advised his parents and that even when pursuant to s 71 of the Education Act 1981 it later acknowledged his special needs, it had wrongly decided that the school he was then attending was appropriate to meet his needs.