Duty of Care

Word document outlining duty of care in negligence.

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Duty of Care
The case of DONOGHUE v STEVENSON established negligence as a separate tort with the 3 parts
(duty, beach, causation) and Lord Atkin set out the neighbour principle.
This was developed by HOME OFFICE v DORSET YACHT (HL) and ANNS v MERTON (HL) and ANNS gave
the two tier test. The idea of an additional element of just and reasonable was formulated in
CAPARO INDUSTRIES v DICKMAN is now the leading case and introduced the 3 tier test. This was
The first tier of the CAPARO test is foreseeability and TOPP v LONDON COUNTRY BUS is criticised as
being restrictive for not thinking the facts were foreseeable however in HALEY v LONDON
ELECTRICITY BOARD the facts were deemed foreseeable.
The second tier of the CAPARO test is proximity and in GOODWILL v BRITISH PREGNANCY ADVISORY
SERVICE it was not foreseeable as D's liability could be to almost any woman and similarly the case of
HILL v CHIEF CONSTABLE OF WEST YORKSHIRE also failed on foreseeability due to the court's worry of
the policy reason of floodgates as otherwise the police would owe a duty to everyone if they did to
The final tier of the CAPARO test is just fair and reasonable and the case of McFARLANE v TAYSIDE
HEALTH BOARD (HL) failed as it was not fair to claim damages for a healthy child even if they are
accidental. The case of KENT v GRIFFITHS (CA) was kept to its own facts and accepting the call created
the duty. The case JEBSON v MOD thought it fair as D had a responsibility to C as an extension of an
employer's duty of care.
Lawyers originally owed no duty after RONDEL v WORSLEY (HL) as the court thought it would open
the floodgates however the use of the practice statement in HALL v SIMONS (HL) overruled this so
now barristers and solicitors now owe a duty.
Rescuers have been found to be owed a duty of care following HANYNES v HARWOOD (CA) as it
created a Good Samaritan image and OGWO v TAYLOR as it was foreseeable.
Police owed no duty and are immune following HILL however in RIGBY v CHIEF CONSTABLE OF
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE the police were liable as were negligent by the lack of fire service but
floodgates was not an issue due to limited liability. The case of OSMAN v FERGUSON had to fail as it
followed HILL and the police were immune. However the case of OSMAN v UK (ECHR) ruled out
blanket immunities to certain professions like the police but they do not owe a duty, each case must
confirmed the police do not owe a general duty of care but are no longer immune.
After the case of SMOLDEN v WHITWORTH referees owe a duty of care.
Social workers in the cases X v BEDFORDSHIRE CC and M v NEWHAM BC the HL upheld CA that there
was statutory discretion and not actionable if acted in the discretion so local authorities owed no
duty to individuals for performance of social services. This was appealed in Z v UK (ECHR) and it was
found this immunity was violation of art.13 as it did not allow C a fair trial. This was similar to the
situation with the police.


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