tort of negligence

overview of cases

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  • Created by: tom
  • Created on: 04-03-09 11:59

donoghue v stevenson (1932)

Duty of care

  • Donoghues friend bought drink of ginger beer.
  • contents of drink contained decomposing snail.
  • as she had not bought the drink she could not claim for her illness.
  • however sued the manufacturers claiming they owed her a duty of care.
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caparo v dickman (1990)

Duty of care

  • because of this case the neighbour test was replaced by the 3-part test.
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kent v griffiths (2000)

Reasonably foreseeable

  • doctor called for ambulance to take a patient suffering from serious asthma attack.
  • ambulance failed to arrive within a reasonable time.
  • patient suffered heart attack which could have been avoided if taken to hospital earlier.
  • it was reasonably foreseeable the claimant would suffer harm with failure of ambulance arriving.
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jolley v suttopn london borough council (2000)

Reasonably foreseeable

  • boy aged 14 was attempting to fix an abandoned boat.
  • whilst doing this the boat slipped and paralysed him.
  • the boat belonged to the council by a block of flats.
  • the council knew it was dangerous and kids were likely to play on it.
  • the injury to the claimant was reasonably foreseeable.
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bourhill v young (1943)

Not forseeable

  • A motorcyclist going too fast crashed into a car and died.
  • heavily pregnant woman (bourhill) was 50 yards away, did not hear the crash.
  • later she saw the blood on the floor, went into shock and her baby was stillborn.
  • she tried to claim but the motorcyclist did not owe her a duty of care as it wasn't foreseeable this would happen. however he did owe a duty of care to the driver of the car with whom he collided.
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topp v london country bus (south west) ltd (1993)

Not foreseeable

  • Driver left bus unattended with keys in the ignition.
  • bus was stolen and driven dangerously causing an accident in which the claimant (topp) was injured.
  • the damage was held not to be reasonably foreseeable.
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hill v chief constable of south yorkshire (1990)

Proximity and Fair, just and reasonable

  • a serial killer had been murdering women in Yorkshire area.
  • claimants daughter was last victim.
  • police had enough info to arrest killer before he killed the claimants daughter.
  • mother claimed police owed duty of care.
  • relationship between victim and police was not proximate enough for the police to be under a duty of care.
  • police knew there might be a further victim but didn't know who the victim would be.
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osman v ferguson (1993)


  • police knew there was a risk of an attack on a schoolboy.
  • the police had received complaints about the attackers behaviour.
  • the boys farther was killed and the boy seriously injured.
  • there was a proximate relation between police and victim and victims family.
  • however case did not succeed as it was not seen as fair, just and reasonable to impose duty of care on the police.
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capital & counties plc v hampshire county council

Fair, just and reasonable

  • fire brigade attended scene of a fire.
  • a fire officer ordered the sprinkler systems in the building to be turned off.
  • causing fire to spread and more serious damage.
  • it was seen as fair,just and reasonable to recognise a duty of care against the fire brigade.
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Roe v minister of health (1954)

Breach of duty - degree of risk

  • anaesthetic was kept in glass ampoule's. back then it was not known invisible cracks could occur in these glasses.
  • so when the claimant was paralysed by contaminated anaesthetic which seeped through the glass, there was no breach.
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