Oxford

Injured girl's bid to sue Oxfordshire council fails

The High Court
Image caption The judge ruled the council was right to focus on keeping the family together and not compensation

A girl left disabled by her father has failed in a bid to sue a council for failing to secure enough compensation.

The 17-year-old from Oxford was aged one when she was violently shaken, leaving her needing 24-hour care.

Because Oxfordshire County Council left it until 1996 to seek compensation, her payout was reduced from a predicted £3.2m to £500,000.

But High Court judge Colin Mackay ruled that blaming the council would not be "fair, just or reasonable".

The girl, who cannot be identified, was suing the council for more than £4m.

The judge said a social worker at the authority had a "sensible" reason for not lodging a claim earlier, and was justified in prioritising the reunion of the family over maximising the girl's financial position, he said.

He added: "It is a pleasure to record, in an age when criticism of social workers is all too frequently expressed, that this was highly professional work and an impressive example of how to keep a family together in the most testing of circumstances".

The court heard the girl's father denied being responsible for her injuries, but a family judge ruled he had shaken her after a "fact finding" hearing in 1995.

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