Civil Law Causation

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  • Created on: 03-02-14 19:14
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Civil Law Causation
Barnett v Chelsea ­ This sets out the 'but for' test in civil law. A man went to
hospital with stomach pains. He was sent away negligently and later died of
arsenic poisoning. Even though the hospital were in breach the family could not
claim. The hospital hadn't caused his death because he would have died anyway
as there was no cure for arsenic poisoning at the time.
Sayers v Harlow ­ This sets out the law of intervening acts in civil law. A woman
was stuck in a toilet due to a defective lock. She attempted to climb out but the
toiletroll holder gave way and she fell, injuring her leg. The court held that she
could claim because even though there was an intervening act of her climbing on
the toiletroll holder, as it was foreseeable that if you are locked in a toilet you may
try to escape, and in doing so injure yourself. The manufacturers of the lock were
therefore liable.


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