David McClenaghan | Partner in the Abuse Team | BBK David McClenaghan | Partner in the Abuse Team | BBK

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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.  David has been recognised as a key lawyer within the personal injury sector by the Legal 500 2022.

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).

In 2014 David was responsible for bringing the issue of sexual abuse in the Scouts to public attention.  Having acted for numerous victims of abuse in the Scouts, David’s media appearances prompted hundreds of other victims to come forward and instruct David to pursue the Scouts.

In July 2017, David featured in the BBC Panorama’s ‘Cadet Abuse Cover-Up’ which exposed abuse and failures to prevent abuse in the Cadet organisations.  David has brought many successful claims against the Ministry of Defence on behalf of clients for abuse carried out by their employees and volunteers.  Throughout this work, David has uncovered evidence of negligence suggesting that the abuse some of his clients suffered could have been prevented.  The programme for the first time shone a light on the issue of sexual abuse taking place in the Cadets.

David is a committed member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and is Coordinator 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 spoke about vulnerable witnesses giving evidence in child abuse cases

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

Professional memberships

  • Coordinator 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
  • It has been an emotional rollercoaster but I would like to thank the team for making this journey worth it. I genuinely believe I could not have succeeded with any other team, let alone made it this far. The teams expertise, kindness, empathy throughout made the tough times with the…
    H L
  • All I can say is everything went smoothly. I was kept informed of everything all the time and my mental health and feelings taken into consideration at all times. Very trustworthy and considerate. Rebecca Sheriff was amazing. Took absolute good care of me throughout and highly recommended. Cant compliment her…
  • Mentally and emotionally battered after a 2 year Police investigation and Crown Court trial against my historic abuser, I approached Bolt Burdon Kemp to seek damages against the Scout Association and Essex County Council who failed in their duty of care to me. This is when I met the delightful…
    S W
  • This was a very traumatic thing for me to deal with and Emily sensed when it was difficult for me and when it was all too much.  I spent my life with no one believing me until I met Emily, to have someone on my side was so lovely.  She…
    Anon

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