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Hill v Ministry of Justice [2022] EWHC 370 (QB) - Rochelle Powell, Temple Garden Chambers

17/06/22. The case concerned an appeal against the order of Recorder Bright QC dismissing a claim for personal injury suffered by Mr Hill (“the appellant”) in the course of his duties as a probationary prison officer. The appellant was instructed to escort two young offenders when one of the prisoners (“DB”) assaulted him, causing the appellant to sustain a spinal injury.

The recorder found that whilst DB was a “volatile, impulsive, manipulative and troubled young manwho could be violent and fell into the worst 25% of prisoners in terms of conduct”, he was not a very dangerous prisoner and it was not necessary to automatically deem him as high risk whenever he left his cell. Further, DB did not pose any specific, imminent or foreseeable risk to staff beyond that routinely faced by prison officers.

The appellant submitted that the recorder had erred by (i) having regard the actual circumstances of the assault in assessing whether some injury was foreseeable; (ii) applying an incorrect and unduly onerous test of immediacy of harm in assessing whether any injury to the appellant was...

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