Court of Appeal reject claim on behalf of child injured in the womb

2nd January 2015

Court of Appeal reject claim on behalf of child injured in the womb

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In August we reported the case of a child who was severely disabled as a result of her mothers alcohol abuse whilst the baby was a foetus was due to be considered by the court of Appeal.

The matter involved a claim for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) on behalf of the child who had been born with severe learning difficulties as a result of her mothers substantial alcohol consumption during her pregnancy.

The test case raised complex questions about whether the mother’s drinking constitutes a criminal act and whether the child was legally an individual within the law at the time she suffered injury. As many as 80 other claims on behalf of children suffering from foetal alcohol spectrum disorder were awaiting the outcome.

The Court of Appeal handed down their judgment in December and upheld the earlier finding of the High Court that the child was not entitled to damages under the CICA scheme because at the time the damage occurred the foetus was not classified in law as “a legal person”.

Unless there is a change in the law it is now established law that a foetus injured by the actions of the mother whether deliberately or not caring as to the outcome will not be able to claim compensation from the CICA.

If you or a member of your family have been injured as a result of a violent crime we can advise you on bringing a claim with the CICA. Contact Sian Mullane on 01473 298131 or email at sian.mullane@gotelee.co.uk

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