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Duty of Care
A Duty of Care means a legal responsibility. 3 elements are needed for a duty to arise:
1. Donoghue v Stevenson
The principle set out by Lord Atkin is that "A person must take reasonable care to avoid such
acts or omissions that they foresee may injure their neighbour"
They test to apply is: "Was it foreseeable if the Defendant did something wrong the Claimant
could be injured?"
Donoghue is about obligations between groups such as Teachers to Students and Doctors
The second test is "Is there sufficient proximity between the Claimant and the Defendant?"
Proximity means closeness. There must be proximity in time, space or relationship.
In Caparo v Dickman there was insufficient proximity because Caparo was just one of
thousands of possible claimants and the accountants did not know of his existence.
In KPMG v Law Society there was sufficient proximity because the accounts new the Law
Society would see the accounts. There was proximity in relationship between the Claimant
and the Defendant.
3. Fair, just and reasonable
The last test is "Is it fair, just and reasonable to impose a Duty?" Even if the other tests are
satisfied the Court may have public policy reasons for refusing to impose a duty.
In Hill v Chief Constable of Yorkshire a duty was refused to the mother of the 13th victim of the
Yorkshire Ripper for the police's failure to stop him. The Court held that there was no duty
between the police and potential victims of crime because if they allowed it the whole country
could sue and the police would not b able to do their job.
Public policy is about whether millions of other people would bring similar claims and so clog
up the court system.