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Kent v Griffiths (2)

[2000] 2 WLR 1158

Case summary last updated at 18/01/2020 19:58 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Kent v Griffiths (2)

P called an ambulance that arrived after long delay and suffered brain damage which would not have occurred if it had arrived at reasonable time. CA upheld hospital’s liability for negligence in causing P’s brain damage. CA said that there WAS reasonably foreseeable damage to P if there was a delay (her doctor had called the ambulance and explained the problem), there was proximity due to the arrangement that the ambulance was to take her to hospital, and it was just, fair and reasonable to impose a duty of care, since no justification for the delay was produced. 
 
Lord Woolf: even if there were no duty of care (which there is) the liability where a PA worsens/causes the damage, as set out in Capital & Counties plc, would apply (since the assurance that an ambulance would come deterred P’s doctor from driving her directly). However there is a duty of care: He says that the statutory powers confer a in this case, unlike in Capital & Counties plc because the powers to use an ambulance cannot be used in any way other than to transport people. This is unconvincing: there is no more need for discretion in the case of a fire engine than in the case of an ambulance: Lord Woolf would be better off either saying that the ambulance were liable through their causing additional harm OR saying that Capital & Counties plc in terms of portraying PAs as being under no obligation to help.

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