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GDL Law Notes GDL Tort Law Notes

Remoteness Notes

Updated Remoteness Notes

GDL Tort Law Notes

GDL Tort Law

Approximately 591 pages

A collection of the best GDL notes the director of Oxbridge Notes (an Oxford law graduate) could find after combing through applications from top students and carefully evaluating each on accuracy, formatting, logical structure, spelling/grammar, conciseness and "wow-factor". In short these are what we believe to be the strongest set of GDL notes available in the UK this year. This collection of GDL notes is fully updated for recent exams, also making them the most up-to-date GDL study materials ...

The following is a more accessible 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:

  • Concerned with what damage one can actually claim for – the consequences from a breach

  • Sometimes the law says that the damage is ‘too remote’ - and because of this it is irrecoverable

  • To claim for damages it must be within the range of remoteness

  • Judge decides where to draw the line

Two tests of recovery

  1. The Test of Directness (Old test)

  • Claimant can claim for all the damage which is a direct result of the breach – if you could chain it back to the original breach then you can claim for everything: Re Polemis

    • No attempt to define directness in the case: most people regarded it as extension of causation – no NAI - unfair on D leading to crushing liability

  1. The Test of Reasonable Foreseeability

The Wagon Mound (No 1) (1961)

  • TEST OF REASONABLE FORESEEABILITY : all the damage which is reasonably foreseeable from the breach

  • Fire damage was not reasonably foreseeable – because an expert had been asked and told them not to worry - oil involved was heavy oil – hard to ignite – the expert had in fact been correct

  • But the pollution damage was reasonably foreseeable

The Same Kind of Harm

  • Courts vary their approach - some cases taking generously broad – whereas have been more restrictive or narrow view as the kind of harm that is foreseeable


Narrow view

  • Tremain v Pike: C worked on a farm with cattle – sued his employer because he contracted weil’s disease: one of the ways you get it is through rat’s urine – if you work on a farm then you come into contact with rats urine – when it went to court a very narrow view was taken – not reasonable – if he had been bitten by a rat then he would have been able to claim (apparently rat bite would have been reasonable) but the disease was rare and not reasonable – this decision was heavily criticised -lots of industries knew about the disease

Wide view

  • Bradford v Robinson Rentals : C sued employer for giving him defective van – windscreen couldn’t be demisted – the only way he could drive was to leave the window open – as a result he got frostbite: court took wide approach to remoteness– any type of damage from coldness was reasonably foreseeable

  • Margereson v JW Roberts: C was diagnosed with mesothelioma: many years previously when they had been a child, they would regularly play by the D’s factories – thought they were playing with snow but it was in fact white asbestos – D argued that the kind of lung cancer that the plaintiff got was unusual – but courts said ‘is it reasonably foreseeable that a kind of respiratory illness will occur?

Risk of Damage

  • So long as the type of damage is foreseeable, it will not be too remote even if the chances of it happening are minimal: Overseas Tankship (UK) v Miller Steamship Co; The Wagon Mound (No. 2)

No need to foresee exact way damage occurs

  • Hughes v Lord Advocate: workers had left manhole up and left it – group of children decided to explore: C was only 8 - played with the lamp and dropped it in the hole, where it exploded, causing severe burns – court felt that damage by fire was foreseeable and , there, there was no need to foresee the exact way in which is occurred (an explosion) – not sure exactly what happened – but either the lamp got caught or he dropped it

    • Clear that the burns were reasonably foreseeable

      • But it was argued that how the burns occurred was not reasonably foreseeable

      • Court – you do not have to foresee exactly how the damage occurred

    • D said they would only pay damages for a small burn - as this was not reasonably foreseeable – the extent of the damage

      • Court rejected this too – once the damage is reasonably foreseeable then the D is liable for the full extent of the damages – all the money for the full extent of the damage

    • Generous decision – courts trying to use mechanisms to get pragmatic justice

  • Cases which don’t follow the usual route: BLIP CASES

    • Doughty v Turner Manufacturing CO Ltd: plaintiff suffered burns at work due to an explosion – sued – evidence that the reason for the explosion was that they had been moving a massive asbestos lid to a cauldron – in the cauldron there were chemicals – somehow the lid slid into the cauldron and there was a chemical reaction which led to the explosion – but no one knew there was going to be this reaction – unusual reaction – Court denied claim for damage suffered – said it was not reasonably foreseeable – so not reasonably foreseeable – but said however, if the lid had fallen into the liquid rather than slid – then it would have splashed and then he could have claimed – but because it slid it wasn’t foreseeable - heavily criticised (vs. Hughes)

    • Crossley v Rawlinson: AA case –...

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