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Claims against the Church

At robsonshaw, we have successfully brought claims against both the Church of England and Catholic Church following sexual abuse suffered at the hands of members of the clergy.  The Catholic Church has had to accept that some of its priests have been found guilty of sexual abuse and it is now well known that those priests targeted religious institutions to gain access to young victims. Whilst the Church is struggling to restore its credibility by implementing systems to deal with sexual abuse, compensation claims continue to be made. 

A claim against a Church is usually brought under the principle of vicarious liability.  This means that where a priest or member of the clergy has abused someone whilst at work, the Church may be legally responsible for their actions.  Most organisations have insurance to cover this eventuality.  

In the past, many voluntary organisations and institutions such as the Church, have tried to argue that they should not be legally responsible for the criminal actions of people working within their organisation.  However, in 2012 a landmark decision was made by the Court of Appeal in JGE v The Trustees of the Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust.  In this case, the Court decided that despite the fact a priest may not be paid a wage by the Church, the role of a priest was akin to that of an employee and as such, the Church would be vicariously liable for their wrongdoing.  This case has had far reaching ramifications for other organisations such as the scouts, youth groups, and sporting associations and has led to many new sexual abuse compensation claims.  

If you have been a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a member of the clergy, please contact Sam at sam@robsonshaw.uk.  

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