Tort of 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.

  • 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.

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

    There is no question that a police officer, like anyone else, may be liable in tort to a person who is injured as a direct result of his acts or omissions. So he may be liable in damages for assault, unlawful arrest, wrongful imprisonment and malicious prosecution, and also for negligence. Instances where liability for negligence has been established are Knightly v. Johns [1982] I W.L.R. 349 and Rigby v. Chief Constable of Northamptonshire [1985] 1 W.L.R. 1242.

    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.

  • 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.

  • Liesbosch Dredger (Owners of) v Owners of SS Edison (The Liesbosch)
    • House of Lords
    • 28 Feb 1933

    But the Appellants' actual loss in so far as it was due to their impecuniosity arose from that impecuniosity as a separate and concurrent cause, extraneous to and distinct in character from the tort; the impecuniosity was not traceable to the Respondents' acts, and in my opinion was outside the legal purview of the consequences of these acts.

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