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Spencer v Clwyd Health Authority [2006] EWHC 1087

Gordon Catford was junior counsel for the parents in this successful unwanted pregnancy claim. The claim arose out of alleged failure to offer and carry out an AFP test in 1989, which would have led to diagnosis of spina bifida and termination. The Defendant disputed breach of duty, contending that the test had been offered; and causation on the ground that termination would have been refused. McKinnon J found in favour of the claimants on both issues. Damages for the cost of upkeep referable to the disability, up to majority, were agreed at £475,000 (the issue of costs has just been resolved). This case illustrates the relevant principles for these now rare claims; and exemplifies the difficulties in litigating treatment provided over 15 years ago, and importance of clinical records in resolving conflicting witness evidence.

The judgment is available below.

Spencer - judgment


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