Tough Justice or No Justice Imagine you are a Judge The claimant

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					Tough Justice or No Justice?

Imagine you are a Judge. The claimant before you is a brain-damaged boy who was
kicked in the head when he was 11 years old by a bigger, 15-year-old boy on a bouncy

If the claimant wins he will get compensation probably in excess of £1million - which he
needs because he will never live a normal life again and he will need 24-hours-a-day care
until he dies.

Would you want to be the Judge to deprive the claimant of the compensation which he
clearly needs?

Perhaps you could not do it.

For the Court of Appeal it is just another day at the office!

On 8 May 2008 a High Court Judge gave judgment in favour of young Samuel Harris against
Timothy and Catherine Perry - the parents who the judge found had failed to properly
supervise a bouncy castle at a birthday party. The judge found that the Perrys’ failure had
lead to the preventable accident which caused Samuel’s brain damage.

This judgment, however, was appealed by the defendants and the appeal was then
considered by the Court of Appeal on 8 July 2008. The Court of Appeal gave its judgment a
few weeks afterwards on 31 July 2008.

The appeal by the defendants was upheld and Samuel’s judgment was set aside. His
chance of obtaining much needed compensation was, so to speak, snatched away from him.

So do you feel sorry for Samuel or relieved that the parents, Timothy and Catherine Perry,
were not found to have been negligent?

Samuel’s case has divided opinion on how far parents should supervise such events. Some
would say that if Samuel’s case was allowed to be successful then who would ever run the
risk of having organised games at a party? It would be the end of playtime and fun and
games! Parents would have to constantly supervise events like prison guards. They would
have to give clear instructions to children on how to behave at such events. They would then
have to carefully segregate young children from older ones (which had not happened in
Samuel’s case). What kind of world would that create?

The judges in the Court of Appeal thought about these matters and concluded that Samuel
was the victim not of the Perrys’ negligence but as a result of a tragic accident which was no
one’s fault.

In certain quarters the Court of Appeals Judgment has been hailed as a victory for common

No doubt this is not a view shared by Samuel’s mother - a single, divorced parent who
struggles to care for him and his sister and who is now considering an appeal on Samuel’s
behalf to the House of Lords.

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