Assumption of Responsibility in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Phelps v London Borough of Hillingdon
    • House of Lords
    • 27 Jul 2000

    It is sometimes said that there has to be an assumption of responsibility by the person concerned. That phrase can be misleading in that it can suggest that the professional person must knowingly and deliberately accept responsibility. The phrase means simply that the law recognises that there is a duty of care. It is not so much that responsibility is assumed as that it is recognised or imposed by the law.

  • Williams and Another v Natural Life Health Foods Ltd and Another
    • House of Lords
    • 30 Abr 1998

    First, in Henderson it was settled that the assumption of responsibility principle enunciated in Hedley Byrne & Co. Ltd. v. Heller & Partners Ltd. [1964] A.C. 465 is not confined to statements but may apply to any assumption of responsibility for the provision of services.

  • Commissioners of Customs and Excise v Barclays Bank Plc
    • House of Lords
    • 21 Jun 2006

    The second is commonly known as the threefold test: whether loss to the claimant was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of what the defendant did or failed to do; whether the relationship between the parties was one of sufficient proximity; and whether in all the circumstances it is fair, just and reasonable to impose a duty of care on the defendant towards the claimant (what Kirby J in Perre v Apand Pty Ltd [1999] HCA 36, (1999) 198 CLR 180, para 259, succinctly labelled "policy").

  • Hedley Byrne & Company Ltd v Heller & Partners Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 28 May 1963

    Furthermore, if in a sphere in which a person is so placed that others could reasonably rely upon his judgment or his skill or upon his ability to make careful inquiry, a person takes it upon himself to give information or advice to, or allows his information or advice to be passed on to, another person who, as he knows or should know, will place reliance upon it, then a duty of care will arise.

  • White and Another v Jones and Another
    • House of Lords
    • 16 Feb 1995

    Just as in the case of fiduciary duties, the assumption of responsibility referred to is the defendants, assumption of responsibility for the task not the assumption of legal liability. If the responsibility for the task is assumed by the defendant he thereby creates a special relationship between himself and the plaintiff in relation to which the law (not the defendant) attaches a duty to carry out carefully the task so assumed.

    Although the categories of cases in which such special relationship can be held to exist are not closed, as yet only two categories have been identified, viz. (1) where there is a fiduciary relationship and (2) where the defendant has voluntarily answered a question or tenders skilled advice or services in circumstances where he knows or ought to know that an identified plaintiff will rely on his answers or advice.

  • Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman
    • House of Lords
    • 08 Feb 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
  • Assumption of Responsibility in Corporate Groups: Chandler v Cape plc
    • Núm. 76-3, Mayo 2013
    • The Modern Law Review
    In Chandler v Cape plc, the Court of Appeal imposed for the first time liability on a company for a breach of its duty of care to an employee of its subsidiary. In doing so, the court laid out a ne...
  • Directors’‘Tortious’ Liability: Contract, Tort or Company Law?
    • Núm. 62-1, Enero 1999
    • The Modern Law Review
    ...... incurs no liability unless and until he assumes personal responsibility. In Williams v Natural Life Health Foods Ltd the Court of Appeal 2 also ... in holding that the liability of directors under the developing assumption of responsibility tort does not present a special case and that the tort ......
  • Liability for References: The House of Lords and Spring v Guardian Assurance
    • Núm. 58-4, Julio 1995
    • The Modern Law Review
    ...... & Co v Heller & Partners Ltd5 and the 'voluntary assumption of responsibility' as the source of the duty of care. Indeed, ......
  • Pure Economic Loss in Negligence: Has England got it wrong? Does Australia have it right?
    • Núm. 1-1, Enero 2011
    • Southampton Student Law Review
    • Marilena Stylianou
    • 20-42
    The exclusionary rule regarding recovery for pure economic loss in negligence in England has been the subject of academic debate for a long time. The law of negligence in England has developed in s...
    ...... the defendant either expressly or implicitly undertakes responsibility to the claimant for advice or information but also where the relationship ...86 He stated that „assumption of responsibility‟ was not always a condition necessary to give rise to ......
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Law Firm Commentaries
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