28th November 2019

The Law Gazette has today reported that The Association of British Insurers (ABI) have told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) that limitation laws around child abuse claims must be changed.

In England and Wales, most personal injury compensation claims must be brought within three years of the date of the incident with the clock starting for survivors of child abuse when they turn 18 years of age.

Removing the limitation period for these claims has been rejected in the past but inquiry witnesses have told IICSA that survivors now face an unfair and often unbearable legal hurdle to recovering damages for their suffering.

Kim Harrison, speaking on behalf of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), said survivors of non-recent child abuse are a unique category of claimant. Harrison told the panel ‘Many survivors are unable to speak about their abuse until years, or even decades, later because of feelings of fear, shame, guilt and the inherent fear of not being believed.’

Paula Jefferson, representing the ABI, said limitation was often a ‘minor factor’ when it came to settlement, compared with the key issue of causation. She explained that insurers have a duty to their client and so would always advise on the law of limitation and whether a fair trial is possible but she accepted there was scope to look again at limitation law and consider possibly changing it – albeit that would lead to more litigation and uncertainty.

Jefferson added that the ABI now recognises that the current law presents victims with ‘what appears to be just another obstacle to being compensated for the abuse they suffered and thereby discourages certainly some of them from pursuing their claim.’

At Ben Hoare Bell LLP we have a team of specialist solicitors with years of experience of pursuing claims concerning non-recent abuse.  This includes claims arising from abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre and Kirklevington Young Offenders Institute. If you wish to discuss pursuing a case please contact either Richard HardyAndrew Freckleton or Katy Stephenson on 0191 565 3112 or email advice@benhoarebell.co.uk.