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Negligence Psychiatric Harm Notes

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

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General Negligence _______________________________________________________

Psychiatric Harm Restrictive attitude to psychiatric harm - NB Negligence and Damages Bill in Parliament atm which proposes to get rid of shock mechanism (though poor chance of success)

Medically recognised illness Hicks v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Held: distress, annoyance and inconvenience and other symptoms short of personal injury do not confer a cause of action in negligence Nervous Shock Alcock Hillsborough disaster victims' relevative claimed for damages Held: the claimants were not primary victims so the claimed failed. Lord Oliver established the categories of victims:
? Primary victims
? Secondary victims
? Rachel Muleron: notes difficulties in the lack of coherent definition of these two categories
? Lord Phillips CJ "no magic in this terminology"

Primary victims Factors establishing primary victimhood:
? Direct involvement in the incident
? Someone exposed to physical danger
? Someone who reasonably believed they were involved in physical danger A primary victim must be within the 'zone of physical danger' White v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Claims from police officers, some of whom were at the time off-duty, involved in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster suffering psychiatric harm. Claimed to be rescuers (who were considered primary victims).

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