Legal causation


legal causation

2 main legal causation issues- 

1) remoteness

2) intervening acts.

Remoteness of damage- defendants are not liable for all the consequences facutally related to the breach. Limited to those that are reasonably foreseeable. 

The old approach- directness- Re Polemis

Present approach- a reasonably foreseeable type of harm- The Wagon Mound (1) 1961.

'harm suffered must be of a type kind or class that is reasonably foreseeable'- Murphy 2007

Foreseeable kind of harm- Page v Smith No.2 1996, Tremain v Pike 1969 and Jolley v Sutton LBC 2000. 

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legal causation 2

Glosses to the Wagon Mound rule- the way in which the damage is caused need not be reasonably forseeable. 

Hughes v Lord Advocate 1963, but Doughty v Turner 1964.

The extent of damage need not be reasonably foreseeable- the claimant is taken as found.

Extent of damages- egg shell skull rule.

Smith v Leech Brain 1961 and Robinson v Post Office 1974. 

Usually damage is assessed at the time of physical damage but see: Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica v Broderick 2002.

Cases involving culpable behaviour resulting from a negligently caused injury- Meah v McCreamer and Ors 2 1986. Gray v Thames Trains 2009. 

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intervening acts

Intervening acts (novus actus interveniens)- 

Intervening acts of nature- Carslogie Steamship Co v Royal Norweigian Government 1952.

Intervening acts of third parties- Home Office v Dorset Yacht 1970- Lord Reid 'where human action forms one of the links between the originial wrongdoing of the defendant and the loss suffered by the plaintiff, the action must at least have been something very likely to happen if it is not be regarded as novus actus inteveniens breaking the chain of causation.'

Lamb v Camden London BC 1981, Rouse v Squires 1973, Wright v Lodge 1993 and Knightly v Johns 1982. 

Intervening act of the claimant- can become operative cause of own loss. Contributory negligence so reduces damages as they are a party to blame. Damages can be reduced by a percentage. 

McKew v Holland 1969, Wieland v Cyril Lord Carpets 1969, Spencer v Wincanton Holdings 2009, Reeves v MPC 2000 and Corr v IBC Vehicles 2008. 

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