Tort of Negligence Cases

Cases involved.

HideShow resource information

Duty of Care

Donoghue v Stevenson 1932

  • Snail in Ginger Beer.
  • Mrs Donoghue came ill and wanted to claim but she didnt buy the drink so she couldnt.
  • Sued the manufacturors claiming they owed her a duty of care.
  • Case started the neighbour test.

Caparo v Dickman 1990

  • Neighbour test then replaced by the Caparo 3 part test
    • Was the damage or harm reasonably forseeable?
    • Is there a sufficiently proximate relationship between the claiment and the defendant?
    • is it fair just and reasonable to impose a duty?
1 of 11

Reasonably Forseeable

Kent v Griffiths 2000

  • Doctor called ambulance as patient was suffering asthma attack
  • Ambluance failed to arrive in sufficient amount of time
  • Man suffered heart attack which could of been avoided if he was at the hospital
  • Reasonably forseeable that the man would of suffered a heart attack with the failure of the ambulance arriving.

Jolley v Sutton London Borough Council 2000

  • 14 year old boy was paralysed when a boat the he was trying to repair fell on him
  • The boat had been left by the council next to a block of flats.
  • Council knew the boat was there and in a dangerous condition with children likely to play on it
  • It was reasonably forseeable that there would be injury
2 of 11

Not Reasonably Forseeable

Bourhill v Young 1943

  • Motorcyclist was going too fast and crashed into a car and died
  • Mrs Bourhill was pregnant was about 50 yards away and heard the accident but didnt see it.
  • Afterwards she saw the blood on the road causing her to suffer shock and her baby was stillborn
  • She claimed against the motorcyclist but courts cliamed he didnt owe her a duty of care as it wasnt reasonably forseeable that she would be affected by negligent driving.
  • He did owe a duty of care to the person who he crashed into.

Topp v London Country Bus Ltd 1993

  • Bus driver left a bus unattended with the keys in
  • The bus was stolen and driven causing a accident where the claiment was injured.
  • The damage to the claiment was held to be not reasonably forseeable
3 of 11


Hill v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire 1990

  • Serial killer murdering women
  • Claiments daughter was the last victim
  • By the time of her death the police had enough information to arrest him but failed.
  • The mother claimed the police owed a duty of care to their daughter but it was decided by the House of Lords that the relationship between the police and the daughter wasnt proximate enough.

Osman v Ferguson 1993

  • Police knew there was a risk of an attack on a particular school boy as the attacker had fixated on him
  • The boys father was then murdered by the attacker and the boy seriously injured
  • Court said there was a sufficient proximate relationship between both parties
4 of 11

Fair, Just and Reasonable

Capital and Counties plc v Hampshire County Council 1997

  • Fire brigade attended a fire
  • Officer said for the sprinkler system to be shut off in the building
  • Fire caused more serious damage
  • It was fair just and reasonable to impose a duty of care on the fire brigade

Hill v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire 1990 is also involved in Fair Just and Reasonable, as imposing a duty on the police may cause lover standards of policing.

5 of 11

Degree of Risk

Roe v Minister of Health 1954

  • Anaesthetic was kept in glass tubes
  • Unknown at the time there were invisible cracks causing it to be contaminated
  • Claiment became paralysed when he was given it
  • No breach of duty and he couldnt claim conpensation

Bolton v Stone 1951

  • Cricket ball hit a passer by in the street
  • There was a 17 foot high fence around
  • Ball had only been hit out of the fence 6 times in 30 years
  • So there was a low risk so no breach of duty.

Haley v London Electricity Board 1965

  • A known road used by blind people
  • Electricity Board dug a hole and only put warning signs up, no barrier
6 of 11

Standard of Care

Paris v Stepney Borough Council 1951

  • Mr Stone was blind in one eye
  • When asked to do some work he wasnt provided with any protective goggles
  • While working his good eye was damaged with a small piece of metal causing him to be blind in both eyes
  • Employers were held that they broke their duty of care to him


  • The cost of the goggles was very small compared to the consequences of the risk

Latimer v AEC ltd 1952

  • A factory floor became flooded and floor was slippy
  • Sawdust was spread on the floor to minimise any risk
  • One workman slipped and was injured
  • Courts said there was no breach of the duty of care
  • Only way to prevent was to shut the factory and it was unreasonable for the owners to do this and they had taken the suffcient steps to prevent injury
7 of 11


Barnett v Chelsea and Kensington Hospitals 1969

  • 3 Nightwatchmen drank tea made by 4th man
  • They became ill
  • Went to hospital where docotr said to go home and see their own GP
  • A man died when he was home, the wife sued the hospital caliming the doctor was negligent, by not examinining him he broke the duty of care to the husband
  • Evidence showed that when the husband arrived at the hospital he had already had the poisen in his system and woulddie nomatter if he was examined or not so the claim failed as there was no breach of duty
8 of 11

Remoteness of Damage

The Wagon Mound 1961

  • Fuel oil had been spilled into the water on the horbour
  • 2 days later it caught fire because of welding work being done
  • Claiments wharf was burnt down
  • Decided it was not reasonably forseeable

Crossley v Rawlinson 1981

  • Claiment runnign towards a burning vehicle with a fire extinguisher
  • Claiment tripped and was injured
  • It was held that as the claiment was only on the way to the danger, the injury was too remote
9 of 11

Thin Skull Rule

Smith v Leech Brain and Co 1962

  • Defendants neligence caused a man to get burnt on the lip with molton metal
  • He had a pre-cancerous condition, unknown to the defendant
  • The burn set on full cancer and the man died
  • The widow claimed against the defendants and it was held that as the burn was a forseeable injury the defendant was also liable for the death
10 of 11

Type of Injury Forseeable

Hughes v Lord Advocate 1963

  • Post office workman left a manhole unattended covered with a tent and with paraffin lamps
  • An 8 year old and friendclimbed down the hole
  • On the way out, they knocked a lamp into the hole
  • Caused a explosion, which the 8 year old got badly burnt
  • Able to claim as the injury was forseeable as it could of happened
  • The type of injury was forseeable, even though the explosion was not forseeable, the defendants were liable.
11 of 11


No comments have yet been made

Similar Law resources:

See all Law resources »See all Law of Tort resources »