Leading child abuse lawyers, Abney Garsden McDonald, have succeeded for the second time in their battle against Manchester City Council to win compensation for alleged child abuse victims.
In May 2009 Abney Garsden McDonald, based in Stockport, were given High Court clearance to set up a second group of alleged victims who claimed they were abused while in the care of the children’s homes run by the city council’s social services from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. The action centres on three homes run by the city council – Rosehill in Northenden, Broomehouse in Didsbury and Mobberley Boys in Knutsford.
In a recent settlement agreement Manchester City Council have agreed to settle all abuse cases now and in the future. For the 163 claimants who make up the second group this means that they will no longer have to give evidence in court but instead have agreed to accept a deduction of 45% of the value of their claim. It could take up to a year before a final settlement figure is known. Awards will be based on the pain, loss and suffering at the time of the alleged abuse, the life-long effects, the cost of any therapy, and difficulty in obtaining work as a result of their suffering.
In 2007 lead solicitor for the child abuse specialists, Peter Garsden represented 168 claimants in the first group action in which he managed to secure compensation amounting to nearly £2,260,000. The group was originally formed in response to a massive police investigation launched by Greater Manchester Police code named “Operation Cleopatra” from Grey Mare Lane Police Station. Starting in 1997 and concluding around 2002, it investigated 66 children’s homes in Greater Manchester, and prosecuted a number of individuals. Manchester City Council Social Services Department ran most of the homes.
Peter Garsden said: “the decision by Manchester City Council to avoid the costs and the time involved in contested litigation is very welcome indeed. The Claimants want an apology for the abuse they suffered in the past, not technical arguments designed to defeat their valid claims. They perceive the arguments of the Council as a reflection on their honesty, which damages them once again. All they want is to speak their truth, and be believed. I hope that the Council do not change their mind, once again, and continue to genuinely settle these cases. It will save a lot of time and money if they do so. I remain hopeful.”