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A duty to protect?


A case is reported in the Guardian which apparently extends local authorities’ duty to protect tenants from third parties to include vulnerable adults, not only children.

A couple, both with learning difficulties, were terrorised in their flat by a group of youths over two days, during which they were assaulted and abused. Hounslow Council had failed to rehouse the couple, although the threat of attack ‘was foreseeable’.

At the High Court, Hounslow argued there was no duty of care, but Mr Justice Maddison held otherwise. The failure to rehouse was negligent. Damages of £100,000 were awarded. Hounslow were given permission to appeal.

I’m looking forward to seeing the judgment on this one.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. William Flack

    Well spotted Nearly Legal! This is a really interesting case. I too look forward to see the judgment. I am sure that as ever you will be the first to alert us when it is available.

    I worry that Hounslow will successfully appeal this one. If the Court of Appeal uphold this judgment it would appear that we will enter a new epoch of compensation being available for breach of public law duties where it was in very short supply before.

  2. Nearly Legal

    It could have significant ramifications, but will certainly be off to the Court of Appeal, or further. I’d say it has House of Lords written all over it.



  1. X v Hounslow | Nearly Legal - [...] assorted helpful sprites). It isn’t up on Bailii yet, though. Previous posts on this one are here and here…

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