This week’s case involved an assault at work where we won at first instance, and won again at Appeal in the High Court.

Our client, a teacher at a school for pupils with special educational needs, was left with long-term knee damage after a disruptive pupil, who he was helping a colleague with, repeatedly kicked out at his knee.

Our client’s colleague knew that the pupil had a propensity to become violent, but failed to warn our client who he had asked to help. 

At trial, the county court Judge found in our client’s favour but the local authority responsible for the school appealed to the High Court. They argued that that the Judge was wrong, and should not have found that the school had breached its duty of care. 

"The local authority then chose to not only fight the case to trial, rather than settle, but to appeal further, which caused needless delay and additional cost to the public-purse."

Amanda Dixon, Thompsons Solicitors

On instruction from our client’s union, the NASUWT, we opposed the appeal. The Appeal Judge agreed with us and the Judge in the lower court. They said that the Judge had been right to find that our client had been repeatedly kicked, and that the school had failed to intervene, which was a breach of the duty of care it owed to staff. The Court of Appeal concluded that it was “inevitable” that - based on the evidence available - the Judge, at first instance, would have found that the repeated kicking had caused our client’s injuries.

Speaking after the High Court judgment Amanda Dixon from Thompsons’ Leeds Office said: “Our client was asked to assist a colleague and ended up being physically assaulted and suffering significant long-term harm. Staff at the school failed to warn our client about the pupil, or intervene when it was clear that the first kicks had struck him. The local authority then chose to not only fight the case to trial, rather than settle, but to appeal further which caused needless delay and additional cost to the public-purse.”