The UK's highest court rules today in the case of a woman who nearly drowned during a swimming lesson 13 years ago.
Annie Woodland was a pupil at Whitmore Junior School in Basildon, Essex, when she had to be pulled from the water and resuscitated at Gloucester Park pool in July 2000.
Ms Woodland, now in her 20s and living with her family in Blackpool, suffered severe brain damage as a result of which she is now incapable of looking after her own affairs.
Her father Ian launched a claim for compensation on her behalf against the local education authority, Essex County Council, and other parties.
But the family has so far suffered setbacks to the damages claim with rulings in the High Court and Court of Appeal in relation to the action brought against the county council.
Supreme Court justices in London will announce their decision today in the latest round of the legal battle.
It could mean that teachers will have to review the way they outsource lessons such as swimming if the judges find that a school is liable for injuries sustained by pupils as a result of the alleged negligence of independent contractors.
Lawyers have argued that Essex had a non-delegable duty of care ''in the capacity loco parentis''.
In October 2011 a High Court judge threw out Ms Woodland's claim against Essex on the basis that it was bound to fail, and in March last year his view was backed in a majority ruling by Court of Appeal judges.
Lord Justice Tomlinson and Lord Justice Kitchin said that in all the circumstances, it would not be fair, just or reasonable to impose the non-delegable duty upon the authority.
And, said Lord Justice Tomlinson, the imposition of such liability would be likely to have a chilling effect on the willingness of education authorities to provide valuable educational experiences for their pupils.
It would have significant implications not just for all education authorities but also for all those who operated schools and hospitals and, he suspected, all those who operated institutions which provided what might loosely be described as education or healthcare.
The county council was obliged under the National Curriculum to provide its pupils with swimming lessons and it organised regular lessons at a local pool owned by Basildon Council. The swimming lessons were contracted out.
The issue before the Supreme Court justices at a hearing in July related to the criteria to be applied in "determining the circumstances in which a school's duty to its pupils under the National Curriculum can be delegated".
Lawyers acting for Ms Woodland believe that the school owed her a duty of care covering all mainstream activities, which applied even where third parties were contracted to provide teaching.
Catherine Leech, a partner in the personal injury department at Pannone Solicitors, who is acting for Ms Woodland, said the Supreme Court's judgment would be "anxiously anticipated by parents and local education authorities alike".
Ms Leech said: "It promises to offer clarity as to whether schools can abrogate their responsibilities by using third parties to take charge of what we believe are integral parts of the timetable as well as underlining what duty of care parents can expect when their children turn up for lessons.
"Unless our appeal succeeds, schools in England and Wales will be permitted to contract out their duty to pupils during the school day, without being responsible for their pupils' safety during subcontracted lessons or activities."
She said what had happened had "devastated" the whole family: "T hey are very anxious that other parents do not have to go through what they have experienced. They entrusted the school with the care of their daughter and they believe the school failed them all."