Negligence in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Anns v Merton London Borough Council
    • House of Lords
    • 12 Mayo 1977

    First one has to ask whether, as between the alleged wrongdoer and the person who has suffered damage there is a sufficient relationship of proximity or neighbourhood such that, in the reasonable contemplation of the former, carelessness on his part may be likely to cause damage to the latter—in which case a prima facie duty of care arises.

  • M'Alister or Donoghue (Pauper) v Stevenson
    • House of Lords
    • 26 Mayo 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.

    In the daily contacts of social and business life human beings are thrown into or place themselves in an infinite variety of relationships with their fellows and the law can refer only to the standards of the reasonable man in order to determine whether any particular relationship gives rise to a duty to take care as between those who stand in that relationship to each other. The criterion of judgment must adjust and adapt itself to the changing circumstances of life.

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

    Donoghue v. Stevenson [1932] A.C. 562 may be regarded as a milestone, and the well-known passage in Lord Atkin's speech should I think be regarded as a statement of principle. It is not to be treated as if it were a statutory definition. But I think that the time has come when we can and should say that it ought to apply unless there is some justification or valid explanation for its exclusion.

  • Maynard v West Midlands Regional Health Authority
    • House of Lords
    • 05 Mayo 1983

    My Lords, even before considering the reasons given by the majority of the Court of Appeal for reversing the findings of negligence, I have to say that a judge's "preference" for one body of distinguished professional opinion to another also professionally distinguished is not sufficient to establish negligence in a practitioner whose actions have received the seal of approval of those whose opinions, truthfully expressed, honestly held.

  • Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire
    • House of Lords
    • 28 Abril 1988

    In some instances the imposition of liability may lead to the exercise of a function being carried on in a detrimentally defensive frame of mind. A great deal of police time, trouble and expense might be expected to have to be put into the preparation of the defence to the action and the attendance of witnesses at the trial. The result would be a significant diversion of police manpower and attention from their most important function, that of the suppression of crime.

  • Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman
    • House of Lords
    • 08 Febrero 1990

    What emerges is that, in addition to the foreseeability of damage, necessary ingredients in any situation giving rise to a duty of care are that there should exist between the party owing the duty and the party to whom it is owed a relationship characterised by the law as one of "proximity" or "neighbourhood" and that the situation should be one in which the court considers it fair, just and reasonable that the law should impose a duty of a given scope upon the one party for the benefit of the other.

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Books & Journal Articles
  • Negligence
    • Construction Law. Volume II - Third Edition
    • Julian Bailey
    • 855-957
    • No. 1-2, February 1992
    • Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance
    • 193-199
    After considering the circumstances in which advocates' immunity from liability in negligence exist, the paper looks at the reasons for the continued existence of the rule and, in particular, the g...
  • Negligence, Public Bodies, and Ruthlessness
    • No. 72-6, November 2009
    • The Modern Law Review
    The Law Commission has concluded in a recent consultation paper (‘Administrative Redress’) that claimants are able to sue public bodies successfully in negligence in an unacceptably wide range of c...
  • Gross Negligence Manslaughter by Omission
    • No. 82-2, April 2018
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The
    • 0000
    There has been much academic debate concerning criminal liability for omissions and the extent to which such liability should be extended. The focus here concerns a recent, unreported, conviction f...
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • Gross negligence
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    It is rare for an employer to rely on an employee's negligence as a sufficient reason to dismiss. This is particularly the case where there has been a one-off error. Also, it is likely that a more ...
  • Employer Negligence
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
  • Can Gross Negligence Constitute Gross Misconduct?
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    The Court of Appeal (CA) in Adesokan v Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 22 considered whether an employee’s failure to act constituted gross misconduct. Mr Adesokan, a long-serving...
  • Corporate Trustees: how gross must negligence be?
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    Surprisingly, the distinction between negligence and gross negligence in English contract and trust law is unclear. On one view, reflected in the older cases, there is little or no difference at all.
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