Law of Wrongdoing in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • M'Alister or Donoghue (Pauper) v Stevenson
    • House of Lords
    • 26 May 1932

    You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. The answer seems to be persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question.

  • Smith v Littlewoods Organisation Ltd; Maloco v Littlewoods Organisation Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 05 Feb 1987

    This dictum may be read as expressing the general idea that the voluntary act of another, independent of the defender's fault, is regarded as a novus actus interveniens which, to use the old metaphor, "breaks the chain of causation." Of course, if a duty of care is imposed to guard against deliberate wrongdoing by others, it can hardly be said that the harmful effects of such wrongdoing are not caused by such breach of duty.

    I wish to emphasise that I do not think that the problem in these cases can be solved simply through the mechanism of foreseeability. When a duty is cast upon a person to take precautions against the wrongdoing of third parties, the ordinary standard of foreseeability applies; and so the possibility of such wrongdoing does not have to be very great before liability is imposed.

  • Lonrho Plc (Original Respondents and Cross-Appellants) v Fayed and Others (Original Appellants and Cross-Respondents) (First Appeal); Lonrho Plc (Original Respondents and Cross-Appellants) v Fayed and Others (Original Appellants and Cross-Respondents) (Second Appeal)
    • House of Lords
    • 15 Oct 1991

    But when conspirators intentionally injure the plaintiff and use unlawful means to do so, it is no defence for them to show that their primary purpose was to further or protect their own interests; it is sufficient to make their action tortious that the means used were unlawful.

  • Dorset Yacht Company Ltd v Home Office
    • House of Lords
    • 06 May 1970

    These cases shew that, where human action forms one of the links between the original wrongdoing of the defendant and the loss suffered by the plaintiff, that action must at least have been something very likely to happen if it is not to be regarded as novus actus interveniens breaking the chain of causation. But if the intervening action was likely to happen I do not think it can matter whether that action was innocent or tortious or criminal.

  • Lister and Others v Hesley Hall Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 03 May 2001

    It remains, however, to consider how vicarious liability for intentional wrongdoing fits in with Salmond's formulation. The answer is that it does not cope ideally with such cases. It must, however, be remembered that the great tort writer did not attempt to enunciate precise propositions of law on vicarious liability. In reality it is simply a practical test serving as a dividing line between cases where it is or is not just to impose vicarious liability.

  • Crofter Hand Woven Harris Tweed Company v Veitch
    • House of Lords
    • 15 Dic 1941

    It is enough to say that if there is more than one purpose actuating a combination, liability must depend on ascertaining the predominant purpose. If that predominant purpose is to damage another person and damage results, that is tortious conspiracy. If the predominant purpose is the lawful protection or promotion of any lawful interest of the combiners (no illegal means being employed), it is not a tortious conspiracy, even though it causes damage to another person.

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Law Firm Commentaries
  • The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council formally adopts new Whistleblowing Directive
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council has formally adopted a Directive of the EU Parliament, which aims to harmonise the protections available for EU whistleblowers who report breaches of EU law.
    ...... which, in the reasonable belief of the worker making it, is made in the public interest and tends to show one or more of the types of wrongdoing or failure listed in section 43B(1)(a) to (f) which are:. that a criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be ......
  • Corporate Compliance Takes a New Turn
    • LexBlog United Kingdom
    Discovering corporate criminal wrongdoing by employees or agents is a situation that employers hope to never encounter. However, if that time comes it is critical to be prepared. The Federal Govern...
    ...Discovering corporate criminal wrongdoing by employees or agents is a situation that employers hope to never encounter. However, if that time comes it is critical to be prepared. The Federal ......
  • Protecting Whistleblowers in the UK – Is the Law Sufficient?
    • LexBlog United Kingdom
    With instances of whistleblowing hitting the press on an ever-increasing basis, does UK law do enough to protect employees who blow the whistle on their employer’s wrongdoing? According to a new re...
    ...... hitting the press on an ever-increasing basis, does UK law do enough to protect employees who blow the whistle on their employer’s wrongdoing? According to a new report published by the international NGO, Blueprint for Free Speech, and the Thomson Reuters Foundation (the “Report”), the ......
  • UK Supreme Court Adopts New “Range of Factors” Approach to Defence of Illegality
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    The UK Supreme Court has rejected a formal “reliance” test to determine whether a defendant to a civil claim can rely on the claimant’s wrongdoing to defeat the claim, replacing it with a more fact...
    ...... UK Supreme Court has rejected a formal “reliance” test to determine whether a defendant to a civil claim can rely on the claimant’s wrongdoing" to defeat the claim, replacing it with a more fact-sensitive “range of factors” approach, which may expand cases in which the defence operates. \t\xE2"......
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