Someone recently bought our

students are currently browsing our notes.

X

Causation Notes

GDL Law Notes > GDL Tort Law Notes

Updates Available  

A more recent version of these Causation notes – written by Cambridge/Bpp/College Of Law students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our GDL Tort Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Revision: Tort

[CAUSATION]

Factual Causation: - single or multiple?

*

Physical link or nexus btw the defendant's breach and the claimant's damage

*

More difficult with multiple causes - hard to work out what the cause was o

E.g. car accident - was it the defendant's bad driving - or the state of the road - or the weather - or the car caused the accident through a fault

*

Temporal problems: where do you draw the line - courts will try and look to the immediate cause

First Test = "The But For" test But for the defendant's breach - would the claimant have suffered the damage anyway: Cork v Kirby

*

If yes - they would have suffered the damage anyway - then the defendant is not the cause

*

If no - then the defendant is the cause

*

Illustration in Barnett v Chelsea & Kensington H.M.C: C went to A&E with stomach ache - seen by a nurse and the nurse took his symptoms and contacted the doctor by phone - doctor was on duty but was himself feeling ill - she described symptoms and the doctor said he probably just had food poisoning, told her to tell patient that if it got worse he should contact his GP - he got worse overnight and died - estate sued the hospital claiming that the doctor's negligence cause his death o

Doctor owes duty of care

o

Breach in failure to attend

o

Did the breach cause the damage - 'but fo'r the doctor's omission - would the claimant have died anyway? answer was yes - whether the doctor had seen him or not he would have died - because the patient had arsenic poisoning - nothing the doctor could have done - because no cureDoesn't mean the doctor won't be disciplined - by General Medical Council etc. - gross misconduct - in breach of employment contract etc. - but in terms of negligence - no liability

*

Bolitho v City & Hackney Health Authority: Bolitho was in hospital due to respiratory problems. Nurse paged the doctor - unfortunately the bleep for the doctor didn't go off because the batteries were flat - so the doctor failed to turn up and attend to Bolitho 1

Revision: Tort

[CAUSATION]
o

Doctor argued that even if she had attended - she would have concluded that nothing should be done at the moment, but the C argued that a good doctor would have intubated

o

But another group of doctors agreed with her - they wouldn't have done anything differently
- so used the But for test: he would have suffered the damage anyway even if she had attended - she wouldn't have done anything

But For test doesn't always work Two causes working together (Multiple concurrent causes):

1. Cumulative Causes (A + B) = tort

*

Material contribution or increase approach: (McGhee)Bonnington Castings Ltd. v Wardlaw: employee sued his employer due to dust at work making him ill - employers' liability claim o

Lots of dust - some there due to tortious negligence - Other dust was there naturally

o

Impossible to prove scientifically that the dust caused by the tort ('the bad dust') caused the lung disease

o

Court said that provided that the dust 'materially contributed to the damage' then you win
- pragmatic approach because can't do it scientifically

*

McGhee v N.C.B: changed it to material increase - did it materially increase the likelihood of damage: plaintiff got dermatitis - claimed it was because of the workplace- prolonged contact with brick dust, workplace should have provided adequate washing facilities: but you can get dermatitis naturally without dust -'Did the employer materially increase the likelihood of the damage?' YES McGhee rarely used outside industry / industrial injuries - but:

*

Mountford v Newlands School: allowed small boy to play against much bigger boys - did the school materially increase chance of injury - YES

2. Multiple Independent Causes: 2

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our GDL Tort Law Notes.

More GDL Tort Law Samples