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72 Cards in this Set

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The Hua Lien

Most physical damage cases have a 'self-evident' duty of care (Lord Brandon)

Corbett v Bond Pearce

Duty must be in respect of the kind of loss suffered

D v East Berkshire

The world is full of harm for which tort furnishes no remedy (Lord Rodger)

D v East Berkshire

Sterling defence of duty, allowing courts to differentiate liability from one person to the other (Lord Rodger)

D v East Berkshire

Duty is a control device to keep negligence within limits (Lord Nicholls)

Smith v Littlewoods

The duty of care is there to limit liability (Lord Goff)

Smith v Littlewoods

Though tempting, we cannot reduce all duty questions to foreseeability (Lord Goff)

Smith v Littlewoods

Novus actus and cost of precautions (ie 24-hour guards) reasoning lumped under duty

Smith v Littlewoods

Impracticality of securing premises, though this might suggest a duty to act if threat clearer (Lord Mackay)

Osman v UK

ECHR found that a strike-out case breaches Article 6

Z v UK

No breach of Article 6, but there are still human rights obligations

Mulcahy v MoD

Soldier deafened in Gulf War

Mulcahy v MoD

No duty of care due to combat immunity

Smith v MoD

Duty of care on Whitehall due to unsatisfactory equipment

Bourhill v Young

Duty of care has to be owed to an individual plaintiff

Bourhill v Young

Mother saw motorcycle crash, still-birth, no duty of care

Bourhill v Young

No duty here, but may well be explained due to extreme vulnerability and lack of duty for psychological harm

Hall v Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust

India hoax

Hall v Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust

Unforeseeable claimant. Probably a remoteness question, but courts prefer to treat it as duty with a named victim

Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police

Injured in arrest, question of breach, treated as duty

Caparo v Dickman Industries

Investor sued accountants for fraudulent audit

Caparo v Dickman Industries

Criticised Anns v Merton for not distinguishing proximity and foreseeability, and for lack of respect with existing principles

Caparo v Dickman Industries

Traditional categorisation of distinct areas of liability (Lord Bridge)

Caparo v Dickman Industries

Tort does not need a general principle for duty, distinct situations best (Lord Bridge)

Caparo v Dickman Industries

Tripartite framework for liability, designed as guidelines and not panacea, though has assumed doctrinal status

Caparo v Dickman Industries

1. Proximity in time and space (legal)


2. Foreseeability (factual, nominally)


3. Just, fair, and reasonable (legal)

Caparo v Dickman Industries

Proximity is a 'convenient label' (Lord Bridge)

Donoghue v Stevenson

Must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which could foreseeably injure a neighbour (Lord Atkin)

Donoghue v Stevenson

Moral omissions are not punishable at law, or too many claimants (Lord Atkin)

Donoghue v Stevenson

The categories of negligence are never closed (Lord Macmillan)

Hedley Byrne & Co v Heller and Partners

House of Lords recognised action in negligence for financial loss

Anns v Merton London Borough Council

Local authority liable for failing to check building was not subsiding

Anns v Merton London Borough Council

Lord Wilberforce tries to bring doctrinal consistency to the law

Anns v Merton London Borough Council

Two tier approach


1. Prima facie duty of care in any relationship of proximity where carelessness would foreseeably cause damage


2. Any considerations which ought to negative duty

Anns v Merton London Borough Council

House of Lords treated the damage as physical, though Lord Denning later admitted it was pure economic loss

The Aliakmon

Anns v Merton being used to open questions of duty, long-since closed (Lord Brandon)

Yuen Kun Yeu v AttorneyGeneral for Hong Kong

Public regulator sued by investor, no duty of care. No duty would have been found under Anns v Merton either

Yuen Kun Yeu v Attorney General for Hong Kong

Privy Council criticised Anns v Merton for joining proximity and foreseeability

Murphy v Brentwood District Council

Local authority not liable for failing to check building was not subsiding

Murphy v Brentwood District Council

Anns v Merton overruled for pure economic loss.


1. Need for certainty in the law


2. Local authority not there to insure


3. Individual responsibility for own home


4. No desire to undermine local authority or Defective Premises Act

Invercargill County Councilv Hamlin

New Zealand case which ignored Murphy v Brentwood District Council and found a duty of care

Sutherland Shire Council v Heyman

Law must develop incrementally and by analogy

Customs and Excise Commissioners v Barclays Bank plc

Incrementalism of little use in itself (Lord Bridge)

Customs and Excise Commissioners v Barclays Bank plc

The Caparo test is a set of 'fairly blunt tools' (Lord Walker)

Customs and Excise Commissioners v Barclays Bank plc

Proximity provides no straightforward answer (Lord Bingham)

Perre v Apand Pty Ltd

Fair, just, and reasonable is simply a test of policy (Kirkby J)

Harris v Perry

Not foreseeable that boisterous behaviour a bouncy castle would risk serious harm so no duty of care

Roe v Ministry of Health

Anaesthetic contaminated by undiscoverable and unforeseeable cracks in ampoules.




Denning LJ: must not look at 1947 accident with 1954 spectacles

The Nicholas H

Leaky ship in Puerto Rico. Defendant surveyor allowed it to leave. Sunk. Sued by cargo-owners. Not just, fair and reasonable to impose duty

The Nicholas H

Lord Steyn reluctant to interfere with complicated maritime insurance arrangements

The Nicholas H

Proximity and foreseeability theoretically separate, though both satisfied here

The Nicholas H

Vigorous dissent of Lord Lloyd; Donoghue v Stevenson applied, straightforward case, fair just and reasonable did not apply because this was a case of physical loss

The Nicholas H

Not just, fair, and reasonable, because...


1. Defendant acting in the public interest


2. To do so would make cargo insurance more complicated and expensive


3. No voluntary assumption of responsibility


4. Loss already met by insurer


5. Surveyor would have to pay $6 million for leaky ship that someone else put to sea

Stovin v Wise

Proximity is a 'slippery word' (Lord Nicholls)

Sutradhar v National Environment Research Council

Report failed to check for arsenic in Bangladeshi drinking water, claim dismissed

Sutradhar v National Environment Research Council

No proximity, no control over liability, entire population could sue (Lord Brown)

Home Office v Dorset Yacht Co

Deterrent on borstal workers dismissed (Lord Keith)

Home Office v Dorset Yacht Co

'control imports responsibility' (Lord Pearson)

Home Office v Dorset Yacht Co

Priest and the Levite would face no liability for ignoring injured man (Lord Diplock)

Home Office v Dorset Yacht Co

Viscount Dilhore dissented: no precedent, foreseeability alone would lead to indeterminate liability, no authority for extending a duty, question of what the law is, not what it should be

Home Office v Dorset Yacht Co

No return to the 'halcyon days' of a closed number of torts (Lord Reid)

Home Office v Dorset Yacht Co

The harm was foreseeable; many things are foreseeable, so human actions have to be very likely. (Lord Reid) Makes duty a question of remoteness

Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire

Police negligence action struck out.




No proximity, thousands of potential victims, no relationship, not just, fair, and reasonable, damage to police efficiency (many of these are fault arguments)

Swinney v Chief Constable of Northumbria

Informant's property firebombed after file left in public.




Proximity, prior relationship, knew the attackers, informants needed protection. Breach not proved at trial.



McLoughlin v O’Brien

Common law has to be based on principle, not riddled with policy problems. Judges not equipped to deal with policy. They must rule, and Parliament can legislate to set the course (Lord Scarman)

McLoughlin v O’Brien

'public policy problems are always justiciable' (Lord Edmund Davies)

Barrett v Enfield London Borough Council

There can be no negligence where imposing a duty involves policy considerations. Judges cannot and must not substitute their opinions for policy-makers (Lord Hutton)

McFarlane v Tayside Health Board

Botched sterilisation. Proximate, foreseeable - very thing designed to protect - but no duty due to policy of not seeing a healthy baby as harm

Unusual harm

 A reduction in a child’s level of achievement was found to be actionable harm in Phelps v Hillingdon London Borough Council

Classic statement of floodgate

Lord Bridge set out in Caparo v Dickman Industries, the law should avoid exposing defendants to indeterminate liability towards indeterminate people for indeterminate amounts of time

Expansion of negligence

Lord Templeman set out: ‘a fashionable plaintiff alleges negligence’.



 In his ruling in CBS Songs Ltd v Amstrad Consumer Electronics

All tort is policy

o Lord Denning MR Lamb v Camden Borough Council.



‘The truth is that all these three, duty, remoteness and causation, are all devices by which the courts limit the range of liability for negligence’.




‘The law has to draw a line somewhere’.




And ‘ultimately it is a question of policy for the judges to decide’.