Breach of Duty & Remoteness

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  • Created on: 03-02-14 19:11
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Breach of Duty
There are 2 parts to the law:
To establish the standard the Defendant has to behave as a "reasonable man"
according to Blythe v Birmingham
If a person claims expertise they must behave as a reasonable expert Bolam v
Friern.
The test is objective and the weakness of the individual defendant is not relevant. In
Nettleship v Weston a learner driver still had to behave as a reasonable driver.
There is no need to be the best the Defendant just has to follow standard practice.
In Whitehouse v Jordan a Doctor was not in breach even though a child was brain
damaged as he had followed correct procedure.
Once the standard has been established the judge looks at 6 factors to help decide
whether the Defendant has behaved reasonably:
i. FORESEEABLILTY OF HARM Roe v Minister of Health (invisible cracks).
Where a risk is unforeseeable a reasonable man can't be expected to take
precautions.
ii. LIKELIHOOD OF HARM Bolton v Stone (cricket ball over fence). Where a risk is
unlikely a reasonable man does not not have to guard against it.
iii. LIKELIHOOD OF HARM TO PARTICULAR GROUP Haley v L.E.B (blind man
falls in hole). If a group is particularly vulnerable a reasonable man is expected to
do more.
iv. SERIOUSNESS OF HARM Paris v Stepney (oneeyed welder not given
goggles). Where there is a risk of very serious harm a reasonable man must do
more.
v. COST OF PRECAUTIONS Latimer v AEC (flood in factory). Where there is a
high cost of taking precautions a reasonable man can take this into account.
vi. UTILITY OF THE DEFENDANT'S CONDUCT Watt v HCC (fireman saving
woman). When providing a utility/help a reasonable man can exercise a lower
standard of care
Remoteness of Damage
First spot the damage:
1. The Claimant can only claim for loss/damage/injury which is foreseeable from the
breach. You must ask "was the damage foreseeable from the breach?" Wagon
Mound (oil and cotton spill destroyed wharf)
2. Damage only has to be of the type that is foreseeable. There is no need to foresee
the exact sequence of events. Hughes v Lord Advocate (boys took paraffin lamps
into gas tent)

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Where a Claimant suffers from a physical or psychological weakness which is
triggered by the Defendant's act, the Defendant remains liable for all damage even
if it is not foreseeable and wouldn't affect a normal person (Thin Skull Rule).…read more

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