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Law Notes Aspects Of Obligations Notes

Public Authority Liability Notes

Updated Public Authority Liability Notes

Aspects Of Obligations Notes

Aspects Of Obligations

Approximately 333 pages

Aspects Of Obligations notes fully updated for recent exams in the UK. These notes cover all the major LLB aspects cases and so are perfect for anyone doing an LLB in the UK or a great supplement for those doing LLBs abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London).

These notes were formed directly from a reading of the cases and main texts and are vigorous, concise and very well written. Everything is conveniently split up by topic as you can see by th...

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Acts/omissions by PAs can cause loss to individuals

Q: when can/should individual recover monetary compensation in respect of loss caused by admin (in)action & how be assessed?

LC 04 considered Eng law unable provide coherent answer

does/should Eng law use ordinary common law of torts or does/should it adopt specific PA regime?

General concerns:

Consti/institutional competence of courts

Protecting PAs from excessive litigation/threat of liability affecting exercise of functions, but

Deserving individuals harmed by serious failures of PAs don’t remain uncompensated

tort of negligence:

Over past few decades, courts have gone back/forth between conflicting approaches when determining whether PA owes CL duty of care against background of stat duty/power

LBW extra-judicially described as ‘nightmare world’

Tofaris notes the confusion & uncertainty this has caused

Also demonstrated by McBride - shows how regular courts (inc. HL) ave flitted between the 2

The approaches:

Policy-based framework

  • underlay Lord Wilberforce judgement in Anns v Merton LBC

  • invoked in Hill v CC West Yorkshire 89, X v Bedfordshire, Kent v Griffiths, XD v East Berkshire, Smith/Van Colle, , Smith v MoD

    Private part analogy framework/‘equality principle’

  • known as the Diceyan approach - associated with Lord Hoffman

  • applied in Capital & Counties v Hampshire, Stovin v Wise, Goringe v Calderdale MBC, more recently Michael v CC South Wales & Robinson v CC West Yorkshire 18

    Following Michael/Robinson Tofaris says there is a ‘tolerably clear outline’ of analytical framework - i.e the ‘equality principle’ = the law

    note generally, debate been about ‘duty of care’ stage but Lord Bingham suggested that standard of care could be adjusted for PAs to limit liability (in response to policy concerns) in cases such as D v East Berks - noted by Gumbel i.e shifts focus to fault

  1. policy-based framework

    Recognises there are issues particular to pub authorities

    PAs have duties/powers under statute which, if exercised, could prevent arm to C by TP

    PAs easy to trace & guaranteed financial resources to support claims

    They also have no legitimate self-interest - their functions are other-regarding (Williams)

    Acknowledges the tension here between public/private law & resolves it

    Accepts the normal framework of neg, but applies it in a way offering protection to PAs through use of public law concepts (e.g justifiability/deference) & policy arguments (in relation to duty of care)

  1. Justiciability

    Additional preliminary hurdle - consider whether claim apt for judicial resolution

    basically means courts won’t decide cases outside their consti/democratic/insti competence

    Test: Lord Hoffman Barrett v Enfield LBC 01: non-justiciable where existence of neg would involve court considering matters of policy raising issues they are ill-equipped & ill-suited to assess & on which Parl couldn't have intended the courts would sub their views for minister/official

    Application: Laws LJ Connor v Surrey CC

  1. where decision = pure policy choice under statute, non justiciable (unless so unreasonable as to be UV)

  2. where involves policy & operations, sensitive approach - greater policy, more likely non-justiciable

  3. where purely operational, justiciable

    Thus where NHS makes mistake caring for patient, operational so justiciable

    but if get to hospital & insufficient beds coz LA decided want spend on ambulance, policy thus no!

    Lord Hoffman critical of this distcintion in Stovin v Wise as everything, to him, can be boiled down to allocation of resources thus policy thus non-justiciable

  1. Duty of care

    Application of Caparo v Dickman framework - e.g Mitchell v Glasgow CC (Lord Hope)

    This was the test to always be applied (novel or not)

    Reasonable foreseeability of harm, proximity (elusive - best related to specific situations e.g omissions or PEL ETC), fair, just & reasonable (balancing factors for/against with view to incremental developing law)

    e.g Hill (Lord Keith) - no improvement to police standards (already motivated by general sense of pub duty), inappropriate judicial exam of police strategy (arguably justiciability), defensiveness, allocation of resources

  • Defensive exercise of functions:

  • Idea that imposing liability will stop them acting in interests of community

  • this was main concern in Hill - used language of immunity

  • note also lack of proximity key in Hill & ‘immunity’ shunned by Lord Toulson in Michael - in line with case law following Osman v UK

  • X v Bedfordshire - children not removed from abusive parents ‘Hill principle’ applied thus LA not liable

  • Smith v CC Sussex Police - C injured by ex despite repeated reports to police - proximity but no liability coz ‘Hill principle’, also employed by HL in Brooks

  • but rejected in Phelps v Hillingdon LBC 01 instead reasoned that imposing liability would increase standards

  • fact that argument goes both ways highlights its flimsiness!

  • Morgan notes the argument is ‘far from proven by evidence’

  • Markesinis & Fedtke criticise its use in Stovin v Wise by Lord Hoffman - surprising & worrying given evidence so thin

  • but Morgan notes Hoffman subsequently conducted priv research & considered Phelps to have had unqualified disaster for the country’s education system - called for experience-based cost-benefit analysis

  • Tofaris & Steel say no empirical evidence - cite evidence of POs in review of Riot Act where rejected argument of deterrence caused by liability - conflicts with its use

  • Morgan notes that judges same in case which invoked & didn't - seems unlikely want to rule out policy altogether

  • ECtHR accepted it in Osman as did Hughes/Mance in Robinson - approved ‘Hill principle’

  • but Toulson rejected in Michael

  • Morgan suggests whether this rejection can last will depend on whether acts/omission distcintion Reed made in Robinson can bear the weight put upon it

  • Diversion of resources: having to defend claims/pay compensation would divert resources...

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