Instructing Steven Ford KC

For more information please contact our clerks by calling +44 (0)20 7242 3555.

Steven Ford KC has a specialist practice which focusses on personal injury and professional negligence claims arising out of deliberate conduct.

He appears at public inquiries and represents institutions and individuals before disciplinary and other tribunals. He advises public sector, corporate and voluntary bodies on institutional liability for deliberate injury and compliance issues associated with his areas of practice, both in England and Wales and in other jurisdictions.

He represents local authorities and private social care providers, independent and state schools, universities and other education providers, health trusts and medical practitioners, voluntary organisations, charities, sports clubs and sports regulators, police forces and religious bodies of all denominations in claims concerning assault, abuse and neglect and in social care, health care and educational negligence claims.

He is a recognised expert in the tort liability of local authorities, institutional liability for deliberate injury, social care and educational negligence and the law of limitation, non-delegable duties, vicarious liability and psychiatric injury.

Legal Expertise

Personal Injury

Steven’s particular areas of expertise are the tort liability of local authorities and other institutional defendants for deliberate injury. He appeared for the defendants in two of the leading Supreme Court cases in this area: Armes-v-Nottinghamshire CC, about whether a local authority is vicariously liable for foster carers; and Woodland-v-Essex CC, concerning the circumstances in which a common law duty of care may be non-delegable.

He has more than 25 years’ experience advising and representing defendants in abuse and related claims. He has advised the defendants in claims concerning the activities of the late Sir Cyril Smith and Bishop Peter Ball; he advised the BBC’s insurers in the Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall claims.

He has appeared in many of the leading cases concerning the negligent “failure to remove” children from abusive parents and carers, and claims for “wrongful removal”.

He has acted in numerous large (100+) group actions involving abuse and neglect in care homes, private schools and state schools.

He is presently acting for a number of sports clubs (including a Premier League football club) and sports regulators in claims concerning childhood abuse.

He acted for core participants in six of the investigations of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA):

  • Barnardo’s in the Child Migration module
  • Rochdale City Council in the Cambridge House (Sir Cyril Smith) investigation
  • Nottinghamshire County Council in the Nottinghamshire Councils Investigation
  • Chethams School of Music in the Residential Schools (Part 1) module
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council in the Residential Schools (Part 2) module
  • Durham County Council in the Organised Networks module

Notable Personal Injury cases

DJ-v-Barnsley MBC [2023] UKHC 1815 (KB)

Local Authority not vicariously liable for torts of connected foster carer. Before Lambert J.

ABC and others-v-Derbyshire County Council and another [2023] UKHC 986 (KB)

Social workers had not acted negligently nor in violation of the rights of the family under Art 8 when removed children from the care of their parents. Before Hill J.

J-v-A South Wales Local Authority [2021] UKCA Civ 1102

The leading Court of Appeal authority on withdrawal of admissions of liability under CPR 14.1A.

SKX-v-Manchester City Council [2021] UKHC 782 (QB)

Local Authority not vicariously liable for torts of owner of privately-run children’s home, nor did it owe a non-delegable duty to the claimant when placing him at the home. Before Cavanagh J.

JXJ-v-Institute of Christian Brothers of the Christian Schools [2020] UKHC 1914 (QB)

Notwithstanding the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017 (an Act providing that the normal limitation period for a personal injury claim does not apply if an injury sustained in Scotland was attributable to childhood physical or sexual abuse), the claimant’s claim for damages for sexual abuse suffered at school in Scotland was statute barred. Before Chamberlain J.

NA v Nottinghamshire County Council [2017] UKSC 60

A local authority is vicariously liable for foster carers’ torts.

JL v the Scout Association & Another [2017] EWCA Civ 82

Application of s.33 of the Limitation Act to claims for assault.

Woodland v Essex County Council [2013] UKSC 66

When a common law duty of care is non-delegable.

Dunn v Durham [2012] EWCA Civ 1654

Disclosure of social services records; interplay between DPA 1998, HRA 1998, PII and CPR.

Raggett v Governors of Preston Catholic College [2012] EWHC 3112 (QB) Swift J

Former solicitor claiming damages of £4.4m for childhood sexual abuse committed by a Catholic Priest.

Instructing Steven Ford KC

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