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Negligence & Public Authorities _______________________________________________________
Public Authority Liability
? Lunney & Oliphant note public authorities are attractive targets for litigation because: o Deep pockets o Array of powers & duties opens them up to diverse negligence actions However the policy reasons against expansion include: o Depletion of public funds o Defensive performance o Interference with public administration
? Bailey & Bowman: non-justiciability & the courts' reluctance to pry into public authorities' sensitive balancing of priorities
Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire (see 'General Negligence' doc) HL pointed out the public policy arguments surrounding public authority liability in tort:
? Liability might encourage defensive policing
? Tort liability was not an effective tool for ensuring competence as the police may be expected to "apply their best endeavours" per Lord Keith
? Regulatory bodies & complaints procedures more appropriate than the courts to address failures
? Diversion of public resources However Lord Keith also recognised that a higher standard of care may be applied to the police in circumstances permitting it
Human Rights & Public Authorities HRA 1998 requires that ECHR is effective:
- Vertically HRA S.6
- Horizontally - as S.6 includes courts who must make decisions compatible with HR
? Lunney & Oliphant: inconsistent adaptation of negligence law to HRA - notes that Art 6 fair trial is not breached where a claim is struck out at the prelim hearing based on the third limb of the three stage test Osman v UK
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