David McClenaghan

David is head of Bolt Burdon Kemp’s abuse department. He joined the firm in 2010 and became partner in 2015.

David has successfully brought claims on behalf of clients who have suffered abuse at the hands of Scout leaders, Boys’ Brigade Captains, Cadet leaders, clergymen (Roman Catholic Church, Church of England, Church in Wales, Evangelical Church), youth club leaders, teachers, doctors, sports coaches, foster carers, care home staff and family members.

As a solicitor advocate, David has permission to appear in all courts and regularly appears in the High Court on behalf of his clients. In 2012 David acted as advocate in the case of GLB v TH in which David secured his client one of the highest ever awards of general damages in a child abuse compensation claim. In 2015, David acted as advocate in the first ever test case against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority in respect of applications made outside the time limit under the new 2012 scheme. On appeal, David successfully argued before the First Tier Tribunal, that the time limit should be extended for his client who was a survivor of child abuse.

David regularly appears on national broadcast media (BBC One, BBC News, Sky News, BBC Radio Four and BBC Radio Five) providing expert opinion and commentary on developments in child abuse law and on child abuse issues. He also regularly provides commentary to national newspapers (BBC News, The Times, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Express and Daily Mirror).

David is a committed member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and in 2014 was elected by his peers to the role of Secretary of the organisation’s Child Abuse Group. In 2016 he was appointed as an Executive Committee member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers. David regularly provides training seminars on child abuse law, both in-house, and externally to the College of Law and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

Reported cases

  • KCR v The Scout Association [2016] EWHC 587 (QB) – Successful claim for damages for a former scout. David acted as solicitor advocate appearing in the High Court.
  • FKB v Derek Lampitt [2015] EWHC 3368 (QB) – a claim for compensation for a client who suffered serious sexual abuse at the hands of her step father. The court made a substantial award of damages to reflect the impact the abuse had on the claimant’s education and earnings. David acted as solicitor advocate appearing in the High Court.
  • ABC v West Heath 2000 Ltd (1) William Whillock (2) [2015] All ER (D) 14 (Oct) – First ever child abuse compensation claim in which damages were awarded to a claimant for ‘sexting’ (The claimant had been encouraged to send sexual images of herself to a school teacher).
  • CXX v DXX [2012] ALL ER (D) 22 (Jun) – Clarified the law in respect of whether or not a defendant who has been convicted of an offence is permitted to deny that offence in a subsequent civil claim.
  • GLB v TH [2012] ALL ER D 329 – One of the highest ever awards of general damages in a child abuse compensation claim. David acted as solicitor advocate appearing in the High Court.

Media contributions and commentary

BBC News – Scout Association faces increase in historical sex abuse claims

The Telegraph – Scout Association facing more than 50 sex abuse claims since Savile

Law Society Gazette – Lawyer in the News: £25,000 damages in ‘sexting’ first

The Guardian – Woman awarded £25,000 sexting damages in legal first

BBC News – David speaks about vulnerable witnesses giving evidence in child abuse cases

The Times – Pope’s zero tolerance pledge on child abuse is not enough

Professional memberships

  • Secretary of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ Child Abuse Group
  • Law Society Accredited Personal Injury Panel member
  • Executive Committee member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers
  • I just wanted to say thank you for all your help and support over the past 18 months. Your patience, understanding and hard work has helped me to believe that I could win my case. It's only ever been about being brave enough, having the strength and courage to survive and fight for what happened to me as a child. Thank you for fighting for me.

    Child Abuse Client

  • "I just wanted to say thank you for all of your and your firm’s efforts, hard work and professionalism throughout the course of my case. When I first contacted you I was apprehensive about going ahead with the claim, but I’m glad that I did. The non-judgmental and straightforward way in which you explained everything made me feel secure in going ahead with it..."

    Anonymous

  • "David McClenaghan treated me with such gentle understanding in matters I had struggled to come to terms with all my life. I will be forever in his debt for the outcome he negotiated on my behalf. It has given me hope in life for the first time in many many years."

    Child Abuse client

  • "Cheers David for fighting my corner, in the biggest battle of my life. When society let me down, you stood your ground. I respect you and Jonathan too. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Wounds are slowly healing, just having stood up and been recognised gave me a sense of the justice I craved."

    Child Abuse client

  • "I just wanted to write to thank you very much for looking after X so well and being persistent with her case to bring it to a conclusion. I think the outcome was very good and she is pleased..."

    Child Abuse client

  • I am so grateful for what the whole team at Bolt Burdon Kemp has done for me. I thought my future was non-existent after suffering terrible abuse at the hands of my primary school teacher.

    Claire

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