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General Negligence Notes

GDL Law Notes > GDL Tort Law Notes

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

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Tort: General Negligence

Structure

- Definition: breach of a legal duty of care which results in damage, undesired by the defendant, to the claimant (Winfield).

- Negligence structure:

1. Parties

2. Liability: Damage Duty Breach Causation Remoteness

3. Defences

4. Remedies

- Set out parties + heads of loss, then deal with each claim: break down into heads of loss.

Duty of Care

A. Does duty exist?

- 1. Existing precedent? (incremental approach - Caparo v Dickman). manufacturer to consumer (Donoghue v Stevenson) employer to employee (Paris v Stepney BC) doctor to patient (Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee) parent/adult to child (Surtees v Kingston BC) school to pupil (Carmarthenshire CC v Lewis) driver to passenger/pedestrian (Nettleship v Weston) + pilot to passenger (Morris v Murray) contracting parties (Stansbie v Troman) reference giver to former employee (Spring v Guardian Assurance plc) advocate to client (Hall & Co v Simons) + auditor to client (Law Society v KPMG) referee to player (Vowles v Evans) + regulator to player (Watson v British Boxing Board of Control).

- 2. Novel situations: Caparo v Dickman test (universal: Marc Rich & Co AG v Bishop Rock Marine Co. Ltd)

1. loss reasonably foreseeable: objective test (Donoghue v Stevenson).

2. proximity (D v S neighbour principle: e.g. Hill v CC W Yorks: police not proximate to all potential victims).

3. policy: 'fair, just + reasonable': insurance, defensive practices, crushing liability, floodgates (e.g. Marc Rich v Bishop Rock Marine: no duty because risk governed by shipping law).

- ... Restricted duty situation?: policy considerations negate duty. Lawyers: no blanket immunity (Hall & Co v Simons), but only liable in criminal case if negligence affected outcome (Hunter v CC W Midlands Police). Police: general duty to public, not individuals (Hill),

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