FZO v Haringey: BBK represent child abuse survivor awarded record-breaking £1.1 million in damages
Bolt Burdon Kemp acted in a landmark claim for victims of child sexual abuse.
The claimant, anonymised by court order as FZO, was awarded the record-breaking sum of £1,112,390.70, the highest ever UK court award made for a victim of child sexual abuse.
The award was made following a hearing at the High Court in relation to abuse that he had suffered at the hands of Andrew Adams, a secondary school teacher at Highgate Wood School in Haringey.
The London Borough of Haringey, together with convicted abuser Andrew Adams, defended the claim throughout, forcing FZO to give evidence at a trial in order to prove his entitlement to compensation.
Adams argued at court that FZO, a 13 year old child at the time, had in fact groomed him into sexual acts – which was roundly rejected by the judge as “inconceivable”.
The London Borough Haringey, who had employed Adams as a teacher, denied being liable for the abuse carried out by Adams. Haringey argued that FZO, now in his 50’s, was out of time to bring his claim and should have brought his claim before he turned 21 in the late 1980’s – even though Adams’ crimes only having come to light after FZO bravely disclosed the abuse he had suffered to the police in 2012. Haringey argued that because FZO was now over 21, he should lose his claim entirely despite Adams having been convicted and sent to prison for abusing FZO in 2014.
Haringey also argued that they were not liable for all of the abuse by Adams because the abuse continued for a period once FZO had left the school.
Mrs Justice Cutts, sitting at the High Court, found resoundingly in FZO’s favour. Even then, Haringey continued to try to defend the claim on appeal but Court of Appeal judges again found in FZO’s favour.