- Clinical negligence—wrongful life (Toombes v Mitchell)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence analysis: This was a preliminary hearing to decide whether the claimant’s claim under the Congenital Disabilities (Civil Liability) Act 1976 (CD(CL)A 1976) could succeed. The claimant’s case was that she was born with a disability because of negligent advice by the defendant, but for which she would not have been conceived. The defendant argued that there was no ‘occurrence’ to found a cause of action under CD(CL)A 1976, and that the case was essentially a ‘wrongful life case’ where policy and legal objections prevented recovery. Mrs Justice Lambert held that ‘occurrence’ did not require some change or alteration in a parent’s physical state and that CD(CL)A 1976 allowed such claims in pre-conception cases under section 1(2)(a). Written by Thea Wilson, barrister at 12 King’s Bench Walk.
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