First 326 words of the document:
Contributory negligence is no longer strictly a defence in tort, but common
law used to provide that anyone who was partly responsible for the harm
done to them cannot recover in tort (Butterfield v Forester)
This was changed by the Law Reform (Contributory negligence) Act 1945 which
provides that in such cases, claims need not fail but the defence may apply. It shows
that the claimant has `contributed' to the harm and so the amount of compensation
will be reduced by the courts.
S1(1) states that the defence can only be applied, and damages
only apportioned where both the defendant and the claimant are
each partly to blame for the damage suffered by the claimant
(Sayers v Harlow)
It is possible for a 100% reduction in damages (Jayes v IMI
There are 2 ways in which C can `contribute':
1. By contributing to the amount of damage or loss suffered
(Froom v Butcher)
2. By contributing to the accident itself (Scutts v Keyse)
Whichever way the claimant contributes, the court will consider all circumstances of
the situation. The question will be whether the claimant's action is reasonable in the
circumstances e.g. the claimant's age, if it was an emergency or rescue situation etc.
The less reasonable the claimant's act, the more likely damages are to be reduced.
Children are less likely to be found contributorily negligent (Yachuk v Oliver Blais Ltd)
The success of the defence will require the defendant to show that the
behaviour of the claimant meant that harm was foreseeable (Jones v Livox
This defence is common in road traffic accidents e.g. damages will be reduced if a
motorcycle passenger fails to wear a helmet (O'Connell v Jackson) or a lift is accepted
from a drunk driver (Stinton v Stinton).