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Council settles historic abuse claim with five-figure payout: report

A local authority which initially defended a sexual abuse claim on the basis that it would be an abuse of process to make a second attempt at compensation, has agreed to make a five-figure payout to settle the claim, it has been reported.

According to law firm Leigh Day, the claimant brought the claim over allegations of sexual abuse in a children's home. His complaint had been investigated by the police as part of Operation Fernbridge, the investigation looking into allegations of a paedophile ring operating at Elm Guest House.
 
Leigh Day said the man had previously attempted to bring a claim against the local authority during the 1990s, but records had been destroyed and so the civil action did not progress to the payment of compensation.
 
The claimant approached a number of solicitors in the intervening period but was advised that his claim had insufficient prospects of success, due to the length of time that had elapsed since the assaults took place. The abuse team at Leigh Day took up his case in 2014.
 
The council initially claimed that it would be an abuse of process to make a second attempt at compensation.
 
However, Leigh Day said it had obtained relevant background records which subsequently provided evidence that the man was incapable of proceeding with his earlier claim.
 
The team also located a number of witnesses, some of whom were able to shed light on the outcome of the legal action brought in the 1990s.

Andrew Lord of Leigh Day, who represented the client, said: “This was a particularly complex claim for non-recent sexual abuse, but we left no stone unturned when attempting to locate evidence in support of our client’s allegations.
 
“I am pleased that we have been able to reach settlement in this case, ensuring that our client received the compensation we believe he was due and which he had waited decades for.”

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