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Proving a Breach of Duty of Care
Breach of Duty
-The claimant must satisfy the court that D broke that duty of care by failing to reach the standard
Blyth V Birmingham Waterworks Company
-Stated that the reasonable man test "Something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do"
-The reasonable man is the ordinary person performing the particular task he is expected to perform
it reasonably competently.
Factors affecting the standard of care of the reasonable man.
-There are factors that can be considered to raise or lower the standard.
Are there any special characteristics of the defendant.
-D is expected to be a reasonably competent person performing the task.
Bolam V Friern Barnet Hospital Management
-the defendant (a doctor) gave electro convulsive therapy that broke a claimant's bones. Some said
they would not have given the therapy.
"A man need not possess the highest expert skill;... it is sufficient if he exercises the ordinary skill of
an ordinary man exercising a particular art..."
Are there any special characteristics of the claimant?
Paris V Stephney Borough Council
-Defendant, a local authority, employed the claimant as a mechanic. He was half blind and when he
tried to loosen a bolt he struck it with a hammer, a piece of metal flew off and hit him in his good eye
making him totally blind. It was said that he should've been given goggles as they knew of his
-The more serious the possible damage the greater precautions that should be taken.
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What is the size of the risk?
-The greater the risk, the more care that needs to be taken.
Bolton V Stone
-Defendant, a cricket club, from where a cricket ball was struck over a protective fence, 5 meters
high. It hit a woman who was standing on the pavement outside her house. It was held that the
probability of the ball striking someone was so small it could not have been anticipated by the
reasonable man.…read more