Whilst in their parents’ care, four children were exposed to what a child psychiatrist later described as “horrific” experiences. Social services had monitored the family for four-and-a-half years but had failed to take steps to protect the children. According to the psychologist, this meant that at least three of them had developed a serious psychological disturbance, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
Eventually, the children were placed in foster care. Acting on their behalf, the official solicitor applied for damages from the local authority, claiming that the local authority had failed to have proper regard for the children’s welfare and to take effective steps to protect them.
The House of Lords rejected the case, finding that UK law did not grant the children the right to bring such a claim. The case was then brought to the European Court of Human Rights.