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J.M. v. Fife Council [2008] CSIH63


Reclaiming Motion:- The pursuer and reclaimer was resident in St. Margaret's Children's Home, Elie, Fife. The home was run by the statutory predecessors of the defenders and respondents. The pursuer sought damages for loss, injury and damage sustained as a result of sexual and non-sexual abuse inflicted on him by an employee of the respondents' statutory predecessors who were responsible for the running of the home. In 2001 the same employee pled guilty to offences involving the abuse of a number of children formerly in his care and was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment, and died while serving that sentence. The respondents disputed liability for the actions of their employee. This reclaiming motion relates to the Lord Ordinary's assessment of solatium at £75,000 and his decision to award interest on that sum only from the time of citation, rather than from the date of the wrong. Here the court considered whether the award could be said to be so low as to be wholly unreasonable or out of all proportion to the sum which should have been awarded. Further, the court considered whether interest should accrue from the date of decree or from 14 September 1966 when the reclaimer left the home as claimed on behalf of the reclaimer.