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   Case summaries      JD v East Berkshire

JD v  East Berkshire Community Health NHS Trust and others [2005] 2 WLR 993

Three conjoined appeals raising similar issues.

1.   JD - the claimant was wrongly accused of having Munchausens Syndrome by proxy and making her child ill. The child in fact suffered from multiple severe allergies

2.   RK – the claimant was wrongly accused of sexually abusing his daughter. The daughter had injured herself riding her bicycle and she also had Schamberg’s disease which involves purple patches on the skin.

3.   MK – the claimant was wrongly accused of physically abusing her daughter resulting in a broken leg. The daughter suffered brittle bones.

All claimants suffered psychiatric injury following the allegations and it was held that no duty of care was owed in each claim. The Court of Appeal upheld the decisions. The claimants appealed to the House of Lords.


The appeals were dismissed. Healthcare professionals and social service professionals do not owe a duty of care to parents in their decision making with regards to matters affecting a child. To impose a duty would be an extension of situations in which a duty was owed. It would be impractical to impose a duty in relation to the suspected perpetrator of a crime and the duty would conflict with that of the victim.
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