Breach of Duty of Care in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Stovin and Another v Norfolk County Council
    • House of Lords
    • 24 Jul 1996

    It will often be foreseeable that loss will result if, for example, a benefit or service is not provided. If the policy of the act is not to create a statutory liability to pay compensation, the same policy should ordinarily exclude the existence of a common law duty of care.

  • 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.

  • Wooldridge v Sumner
    • Court of Appeal
    • 04 Jun 1962

    The maxim in English law presupposes a tortious act by the defendant. The consent that is relevant is not consent to the risk of Injury butconsent to the lack of reasonable care that may produce that risk (see Kelly v. Tarrants Ltd. 1954 Northern Ireland Reports page 41 per Lord MacDermott at page 45) and requires on the part of the plaintiff at the time at which he gives his consent full knowledge of the nature and extent of the risk that he ran.

  • 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.

  • Reeves v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
    • House of Lords
    • 15 Jul 1999

    People of full age and sound understanding must look after themselves and take responsibility for their actions. This philosophy expresses itself in the fact that duties to safeguard from harm deliberately caused by others are unusual and a duty to protect a person of full understanding from causing harm to himself is very rare indeed.

  • Murphy v Brentwood District Council
    • House of Lords
    • 26 Jul 1990

    The essential question which has to be asked in every case, given that damage which is the essential ingredient of the action has occurred, is whether the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant is such - or, to use the favoured expression, whether it is of sufficent "proximity" - that it imposes upon the latter a duty to take care to avoid or prevent that loss which has in fact been sustained.

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

    But it also expresses a general perception that we ought not to be held responsible in law for the deliberate wrongdoing of others. 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.

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