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Limitation and joint enterprise - Young v Downey

  • 30 December 2019 30 December 2019
Limitation and joint enterprise - Young v Downey

The Claimant was the daughter of a British soldier, and as a child, heard the Hyde Park bomb detonate from her nursery. She witnessed the injured soldiers returning, knowing that her father had been one of the parties targeted.

In 2017 she issued a claim against the Defendant, who was identified as being a part of the attack in 2014 during criminal proceedings, which subsequently collapsed. The Claimant is seeking damages for psychiatric harm and consequential loss in addition to aggravated and exemplary damages.  The Defendant did not attend.

Mrs Justice Yip was asked to deal with the primary issue of the validity of the claim.  The claim was held to be valid with damages to be dealt with at a later date.

The Court found that the Claimant discharged the burden of proving that on the balance of probabilities the Defendant was liable for the death through causing the unlawful killing through active participation in the bombing as part of a joint enterprise.

In reference to Shah v Gale [2005] Mrs Justice Yip found that although this civil claim involved an allegation of murder, the standard of proof remains as the balance of probabilities with the 'appropriate respect to the need for cogent evidence to reflect the serious nature of the allegation'. The scientific evidence used in the criminal proceedings satisfied this standard.

The conclusion of the criminal trial was considered to be the point at which the Claimant ‘acquired knowledge’ per section 11(4)(b) of the Limitation Act 1980. Mrs Justice Yip stated the Claimant had acted promptly from that point onwards, and using her discretion, extended the limitation period per section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980, drawing upon Carroll v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police [2017] to find the elements of the case to prioritise.

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