Negligence in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Anns v Merton London Borough Council
    • House of Lords
    • 12 May 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 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.

    The grounds of action may be as various and manifold as human errancy and the conception of legal responsibility may develop in adaptation to altering social conditions and standards. 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 May 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 May 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 Abr 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.

  • Saif Ali v Sydney Mitchell & Company
    • House of Lords
    • 02 Nov 1978

    No matter what profession it may be, the common law does not impose on those who practise it any liability for damage resulting from what in the result turn out to have been errors of judgment, unless the error was such as no reasonably well-informed and competent member of that profession could have made. So too the common law makes allowance for the difficulties in the circumstances in which professional judgments have to be made and acted upon.

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