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Case details

Khan (Respondent) v Meadows (Appellant)

Case ID: UKSC 2019/0011

Case summary


If a child born with more than one disability would not have been born but for a doctor's failure to advise of the risk of their being born with one of those disabilities, can the mother sue the doctor for the costs associated with all of the child's disabilities, or only for the costs associated with the disability the doctor was consulted on?


The appellant, Ms Meadows, is the mother of a child with haemophilia and autism. Before her pregnancy, Ms Meadows asked Dr Khan to establish whether she carried the haemophilia gene. Following blood tests, the mother was wrongly led to believe that any child she had would not have haemophilia. Had Ms Meadows known that she carried the haemophilia gene, she would have undergone foetal testing for haemophilia when she was pregnant. This would have revealed the foetus was affected. Ms Meadows would then have chosen to terminate her pregnancy, and her child would not have been born.

Ms Meadows sought damages from Dr Khan based on wrongful birth. She argued that Dr Khan was liable for all the consequences of the pregnancy. Dr Khan admitted liability for the consequences of the child's haemophilia, but denied liability in relation to the autism.

The High Court held that Ms Meadows was entitled to damages in relation to the costs of bringing up a child with haemophilia and that she was entitled to the additional costs in relation to her child’s autism, even though that was an unrelated condition.

The Court of Appeal allowed Dr Khan’s appeal. Ms Meadows now appeals to the Supreme Court.

Judgment appealed

[2019] EWCA Civ 152








Lord Reed, Lord Hodge, Lady Black, Lord Kitchin, Lord Sales, Lord Leggatt, Lord Burrows.

Hearing start date

05 Nov 2020

Hearing finish date

05 Nov 2020

Watch hearing
05 Nov 2020 Morning session

Judgment details

Judgment date

18 June 2021

Neutral citation

[2021] UKSC 21

  • Judgment (PDF)
    Please note - At para 44 "Different legal rules have differing causal requirements, as Lord Hoffmann observed in his essay on causation in Michael Goldberg (ed), Perspectives on Causation (2011), p 9" - ‘Michael’ is incorrect and has been replaced by ‘Richard’. This amendment has been approved by Lord Hodge and Lord Sales.
  • Press summary (HTML version)
  • Judgment on BAILII (HTML version)

Please note- this judgment and press summary were reuploaded on 16 May 2023 to anonymise the name of the child involved.

Watch Judgment summary
18 June 2021 Judgment summary