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Spartan Steel & Alloys v Martin

[1973] QB 27

Case summary last updated at 19/01/2020 15:06 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Spartan Steel & Alloys v Martin

D negligently caused a power cut to P which led to the damaging of a metal being produced at P’s factory. It also prevented P from functioning in the time that power was cut off. CA allowed P to claim for the metal damaged by the power cut, but not the lost profits. 
Lord Denning MR: the tests of whether a duty exists + remoteness are too vague, as demonstrated by the Weller case, where it was decided on the grounds that there was no duty but could equally have been decided on the grounds that the damage was too remote. Instead the courts should approach damages by examining the relationship of the parties and then deciding on policy alone whether damages ought to be paid. In this case, the law should encourage people to just accept that sometimes things that we dislike happen and that we should deal with them: not seek compensation or be litigious. Also he fears that to allow such claims would open the floodgates to many false or inflated claims that would be hard to distinguish from real ones; Therefore only the damage to the metal should be compensable and not lost profits. 
Lord E-D (dissenting): There is no reason why one type of loss should be recoverable, whereas another should not, provided it has satisfied the 4 stages of duty, breach, causation and remoteness. 

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