References:  AC 1004,  2 WLR 1140,  2 All ER 94,  UKHL 2
Coram: Reid, Morris of Borth-y-Guest, Pearson, Diplock, LL, Viscount Dilhorne
A yacht was damaged by boys who had escaped from the supervision of prison officers in a nearby Borstal institution. The boat owners sued the Home Office alleging negligence by the prison officers.
Held: Any duty of a borstal officer to use reasonable care to prevent a borstal trainee from escaping from his custody, was owed only to persons whom he could reasonably foresee had property situated in the vicinity of the place of detention of the detainee, and which the detainee was likely to steal or to appropriate and damage in the course of eluding immediate pursuit and capture. Where human action forms one of the links between the original wrongdoing of the defendant and the plaintiff’s loss that action must ‘at least have been something very likely to happen if it is not to be regarded as novus actus interveniens breaking the chain of causation.’
Lord Reid said: ‘there must come a stage when the discretion is exercised so carelessly or unreasonably that there has been no real exercise of the discretion which Parliament has conferred. The person purporting to exercise his discretion has acted in abuse or excess of his power. Parliament cannot be supposed to have granted immunity to persons who do that.’
Lord Diplock described the process by which a legal principle was to be derived from authority, describing it as inductive, testing the characteristics of the cases: ‘This analysis leads to a proposition which can be stated in the form:
‘In all the decisions that have been analysed a duty of care has been held to exist wherever the conduct and the relationship possessed each of the characteristics A, B, C, D, etc, and has not so far been found to exist when any of these characteristics were absent.’
For the second stage, which is deductive and analytical, that proposition is converted to: ‘In all cases where the conduct and relationship possess each of the characteristics A, B, C, D, etc, a duty of care arises.’ The conduct and relationship involved in the case for decision is then analysed to ascertain whether they possess each of these characteristics. If they do the conclusion follows that a duty of care does arise in the case for decision’
This case cites:
- Appeal from – Dorset Yacht Co Ltd -v- Home Office CA ( 2 QB 412,  2 WLR 1008,  2 All ER 564)
- Cited – Donoghue (or McAlister) -v- Stevenson HL ( AC 562,  SC (HL) 31,  ScLT 317, Hamlyn,  All ER Rep 1, (1932) 101 LJPC 119, (1932) 147 LT 281,  SLT 317, (1932) 48 TLR 494, (1932) 37 Com Cas 350, Bailii,  UKHL 100,  Sol Jo 396,  WN 139,  SC 31, (1933) 4 DLR 337, 533 CA 47)
The appellant drank from a bottle of ginger beer manufactured by the defendant. She suffered injury when she found a half decomposed snail in the liquid. The glass was opaque and the snail could not be seen. The drink had been bought for her by a . .
- Cited – Geddis -v- Proprietors of Bann Reservoir HL ((1878) 3 App Cas 455)
The owner of land injured by operations authorised by statute ‘suffers a private loss for the public benefit’, and in the absence of clear statutory authority is unable to claim: ‘It is now thoroughly well established that no action will lie for . .
This case is cited by:
- Cited – Anns and Others -v- Merton London Borough Council HL (lip,  AC 728,  CLY 2030,  2 All ER 492, Bailii,  UKHL 4)
The plaintiff bought her apartment, but discovered later that the foundations were defective. The local authority had supervised the compliance with Building Regulations whilst it was being built, but had failed to spot the fault. The authority . .
- Cited – K -v- the Secretary of State for the Home Department CA (Bailii,  EWCA Civ 775)
The applicant sought damages from the defendant who had released from custody pending deportation a man convicted of violent sexual crimes and who had then raped her. She appealed a strike out of he claim. She had been refused information about the . .
- Cited – Mutual Life And Citizens’ Assurance Co Ltd And Another -v- Evatt PC (lip,  2 WLR 23)
The plaintiff had been an investor with the defendant. He asked them about an associated company. He was given advice which was incorrect. He claimed damages for negligence.
Held: The company was not itself in the business of giving such . .
- Cited – British Railways Board -v- Herrington HL (lip,  AC 877,  2 WLR 537,  1 All ER 749, Bailii,  UKHL 1)
The plaintiff, a child had gone through a fence onto the railway line, and been badly injured. The Board knew of the broken fence, but argued that they owed no duty to a trespasser.
Held: Whilst a land-owner owes no general duty of care to a . .
- Cited – Osman -v- The United Kingdom ECHR (Times 05-Nov-98, 23452/94, 87/1997/871/1083, Bailii, ECHR,  1 FLR 193, Bailii,  ECHR 101, 5 BHRC 293, (2000) 29 EHRR 245,  Fam Law 86,  HRCD 966,  Crim LR 82, (1999) 163 JPN 297, (1999) 11 Admin LR 200)
(Grand Chamber) A male teacher developed an obsession with a male pupil. He changed his name by deed poll to the pupil’s surname. He was required to teach at another school. The pupil’s family’s property was subjected to numerous acts of vandalism, . .
- Cited – Chagos Islanders -v- The Attorney General, Her Majesty’s British Indian Ocean Territory Commissioner QBD ( EWHC 2222 (QB), Bailii, Times 10-Oct-03,  All ER (D) 166)
The Chagos Islands had been a British dependent territiry since 1814. The British government repatriated the islanders in the 1960s, and the Ilois now sought damages for their wrongful displacement, misfeasance, deceit, negligence and to establish a . .
- Cited – Dutton -v- Bognor Regis Urban District Council CA ( 1 All ER 462 CA,  2 WLR 299,  1 QB 373,  CLY 2352)
Lord Denning MR said: ‘If Mr Tapp’s submissions were right, it would mean that if the inspector negligently passes the house as properly built and it collapses and injures a person, the council are liable : but if the owner discovers the defect in . .
- Cited – Hill -v- Chief Constable of West Yorkshire HL ( 2 WLR 1049,  AC 53,  2 All ER 238, Bailii,  UKHL 12)
The mother of a victim of the Yorkshire Ripper claimed in negligence against the police alleging that they had failed to satisfy their duty to exercise all reasonable care and skill to apprehend the perpetrator of the murders and to protect members . .
- Cited – Mullaney -v- Chief Constable of West Midlands Police CA (Bailii,  EWCA Civ 700, Times 09-Jul-01)
The claimant police officer was severely injured making an arrest. He claimed damages from the respondent for contributory negligence of other officers in failing to come to his assistance.
Held: If a police officer owes a duty of care to . .
- Applied – Tate & Lyle Industries Ltd -v- Greater London Council HL ( 2 AC 509, Bailii,  UKHL 2)
The plaintiff had constructed and used two jetties, and dredged a channel down to the Thames for their use. The Council constructed two terminals nearby, the result of which was to cause a build up of silt blocking the channel.
Held: The . .
- Applied – Peabody Donation Fund -v- Sir Lindsay Parkinson & Co Ltd HL ( AC 210,  3 WLR 953, Bailii,  UKHL 5)
Architects proposed a system of flexible drains for a site, but the contractors persuaded them to accept rigid drains which once laid proved inadequate at considerable cost. The local authority had permitted the departure from the plans.
Held: . .
- Cited – Smith -v- Littlewoods Organisation Limited (Chief Constable, Fife Constabulary, third party); Maloco -v- Littlewoods Organisation Ltd HL ( AC 241,  2 WLR 480, Bailii,  UKHL 3, 1987 SC (HL) 37)
The defendant acquired a semi derelict cinema with a view to later development of the site. A fire started by others spread to the pursuer’s adjoining property.
Held: The defendants were not liable in negligence. The intervention of a third . .
- Cited – The Attorney General -v- Hartwell PC (PC, Bailii,  UKPC 12, Times 27-Feb-04, PC, Gazette 25-Mar-04,  1 WLR 1273,  PIQR 27)
PC (The British Virgin Islands) A police officer had taken the police revolver, and used it to shoot the claimant. It was alleged that the respondent police force were vicariously liable for his acts and also . .
- Cited – Binod Sutradhar -v- Natural Environment Research Council CA (Bailii,  EWCA Civ 175, Times 19-Mar-04, Gazette 01-Apr-04)
The defendant council had carried out research into a water supply in India in the 1980s. The claimant drank the water, and claimed damages for having consumed arsenic in it.
Held: There is a close link between the tests in law for proximity . .
- Cited – Gorringe -v- Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council HL (HL,  UKHL 15, Bailii, Times 02-Apr-04,  1 WLR 1057,  RTR 27,  2 All ER 326)
The claimant sought damages after a road accident. The driver came over the crest of a hill and hit a bus. The road was not marked with any warning as to the need to slow down.
Held: The claim failed. The duty could not be extended to include . .
- Cited – Regina -v- Chung Tak Lam Mary Lam Patricia Lam Christopher John Lam and Peter Brennan (T/a ‘Namesakes of Torbay’) and Borough of Torbay CA (Bailii,  EWCA Civ 2247,  PIQR P488)
The claimant sought damages after the planning authority allowed the first defendant to conduct a manufacturing business in the course of which spraying activities took place which caused them personal injuries and loss of business.
Held: The . .
- Cited – Hertfordshire Police -v- Van Colle; Smith -v- Chief Constable of Sussex Police HL (Bailii,  UKHL 50,  3 All ER 977,  3 WLR 593, Times 01-Aug-08, HL,  PIQR P2,  UKHRR 967,  HRLR 44,  1 AC 225,  1 Cr App R 12,  LS Law Medical 1)
A prosecution witness was murdered by the accused shortly before his trial. The parents of the deceased alleged that the failure of the police to protect their son was a breach of article 2.
Held: The House was asked ‘If the police are alerted . .
- Cited – Mitchell and Another -v- Glasgow City Council HL (Bailii,  UKHL 11, Times, HL,  WLR (D) 65, WLRD,  2 WLR 481, 2009 SCLR 270, 2009 SC (HL) 21, 2009 GWD 7-122, 2009 Hous LR 2,  PIQR P13,  NPC 27,  3 All ER 205,  HRLR 18, 2009 SLT 247)
(Scotland) The pursuers were the widow and daughter of a tenant of the respondent who had been violently killed by his neighbour. They said that the respondent, knowing of the neighbour’s violent behaviours had a duty of care to the deceased and . .
- Cited – Glaister and Others -v- Appelby-In-Westmorland Town Council CA (Bailii,  EWCA Civ 1325,  NPC 143,  PIQR P6)
The claimant was injured when at a horse fair. A loose horse kicked him causing injury. They claimed in negligence against the council for licensing the fair without ensuring that public liability insurance. The Council now appealed agaiinst a . .
- Cited – Prudential Plc and Another, Regina (on The Application of) -v- Special Commissioner of Income Tax and Another SC ( WLR(D) 20, Bailii,  UKSC 1, Bailii Summary, UKSC 2010/0215, SC Summary, SC)
The appellants resisted disclosure to the revenue of advice it had received. It claimed legal advice privilege (LAP), though the advice was from its accountants.
Held: (Lords Sumption and Clarke dissenting) LAP applies to all communications . .
- Cited – Woodland -v- Essex County Council SC (Bailii,  UKSC 66, WLRD,  3 WLR 1227,  WLR(D) 403, Bailii Summary, UKSC 2012/0093, SC Summary, SC)
The claimant had been seriously injured in an accident during a swimming lesson. She sought to claim against the local authority, and now appealed against a finding that it was not responsible, having contracted out the provision of swimming . .