Skip to content

Victims of Barry Bennell lose claim against Manchester City

The UK Courts have ruled that Manchester City Football Club is not liable for the abuse suffered by the victims of Barry Bennell. Learn more about this case and the leading injury barristers involved.

Published on 18 January 2022
Written by Eleanor Crundwell
Eleanor Crundwell

Victims of Barry Bennell lose the legal battle

Eight victims of paedophile Barry Bennell have lost their case against Manchester City Football Club after the judge ruled that he had not been shown sufficient evidence that the club could be held vicariously liable for Bennell's actions.

Bennell is currently in prison serving a 34-year term and has been convicted of 90 separate offences against young boys.

The claimants, represented by James Counsell KC and Benjamin Bradley, both of Outer Temple Chambers, alleged that Bennell was a scout for Manchester City during the 1980s, and although he was not an employee of the club, his relationship with the club was one of employment or akin to employment.

Could Manchester City could be held vicariously liable for Barry Bennell's actions?

The defendant club and its insurers, represented by Michael Kent KC of Crown Office Chambers and Nicholas Fewtrell of Deans Court Chambers, argued that although Bennell had previously been associated with the club, the relationship was severed in 1979 before the abuse began, and so the club is therefore not vicariously liable for Bennell's actions.

Michael Kent KC also successfully argued that the claims had been brought too late, with the judge concluding that the delay in bringing the claims had had, a profound impact on Manchester City Football Club's ability to investigate the claims

The claimants' solicitors have stated that they will be launching an appeal, noting that in their view the club had escaped liability on a technicality.

It is important to note that the issue at hand in this case was whether Manchester City could be held vicariously liable for the abuse the claimants had suffered, and a spokesperson for Manchester City has said it was accepted by all parties that the abuse had taken place.

The judge praised the claimants and noted that it is because of their selfless bravery that Bennell is now in prison. If it were not for their courage, other boys may have been at risk of suffering in the same way.

Learn more about the barristers involved in this legal case and others who have handled historical abuse claims in our Chambers UK Bar Personal Injury legal rankings.

uk bar

Chambers UK Bar

Visit the Chambers UK Bar guide page to view our rankings, gain insights into the guide, overviews and more.