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DEFENCES TO NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS
CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE (PARTIAL DEFENCE)
o Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945, s 1(1):
"the damages recoverable in respect thereof shall be reduced to such extent as the court thinks just and equitable having regard to the claimant's share in the responsibility for the damage."
Imports a great deal of judicial discretion.
o Two elements:
o 1) The claimant was acting negligently
Jones v Livox Quarries  - Claimant was riding tow bar when vehicle crashed. Claimant partially at fault for being in a dangerous position. Contributory negligence.
Lord Denning: "a person is guilty of contributory negligence if he ought reasonably to have foreseen that, if he did not act as a reasonable,
prudent man, he might be hurt himself: and in his reckonings he must take into account the possibility of others being careless."
Brannan v Airtours  - C was on holiday with free unlimited alcohol. Climbed on table and was struck by fan. Was warned not to. Tour company held 50%
liable for putting tables under fans.
Badger v Ministry of Defence  - The widow of the deceased sought damages after his negligent exposure to asbestos whilst working for the defendant.
He had contracted lung cancer and died aged 63.
Smoked 20/day 16-53, then 8-10 cigars a day.
Court held from the 1970s when Government started to warn of adverse effects of smoking defendant became contributorily negligent. Court reduced damages by 20%
The key to this test is the action of the reasonable person:
Jones v Boyce  - Claimant believed carriage was going to crash so jumped out.
Carriage did not crash. D raised contributory negligence. Failed as C acted as a reasonable person would have.
The court will take into account age:
Gough v Thorne  - Accident was the fault of the defendant, but the claimant was partially to blame for not checking the road before crossing it. Court held that the claimant must be judged by the standards of a child of their age.
o Salmon LJ said: 'The question … depends on whether any ordinary child of 13 can be
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