Course aims to protect children

LOCAL authority solicitors are becoming increasingly concerned at the number of criminal injury claims they are being forced to defend.

The trend is being fuelled by the number of injuries sustained by children who suffer attacks while in council care.

Demand for clarification of the issues has led to the Law Society's local government group (LGG) organising a new course on the subject.

Peter Godber, head of training at the LGG, says there has been a flood of applications for the lecture, which is going to be given by barrister David Hall in October.

Godber says: "Local authorities have thousands of children in their care and sometimes they are victims of criminal injuries. The authority can be the subject of an action."

He adds: "It is a new course, and there has already been a substantial level of interest shown."

Typical actions arise from injuries sustained by children who are attacked either at school or while in the care of social services. Councils which have been forced to defend actions include Bedfordshire and Newham, east London.

The areas covered in Hall's course include proper representation of children, levels of compensation, negotiation tips, default or negligence with social services and House of Lords decisions.

A speaker from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board will also speak at the lecture, to be held at Westminster City Hall in central London.

The course is one of the highlights in a series run by the LGG this autumn. Others will be on anti-competitive behaviour, the registered homes act and entertainment licences.