Calvert v William Hill Credit Ltd: ChD 12 Mar 2008

The claimant said that the defendant bookmakers had been negligent in allowing him to continue betting when they should have known that he was acting under an addiction. The defendant company had a policy for achieving responsible gambling, including procedures for self-exclusion. The claimant had of his own choice previously closed accounts at other bookmakers, and closed his account with the defendant, but they had not followed their own procedures, and had failed to impose as requested a ban against his reopening the account. Evidence said that he was a pathological gambler.
Held: The judge was not persuaded that by developing its own social responsibility, or an exclusion policy, William Hill could be said voluntarily to have assumed responsibility to all its problem gambler customers, though ‘exceptional circumstances may give rise to a common law duty of care to prevent or to mitigate the consequences or aggravation of self-inflicted harm. Such circumstances may include the assumption of control over a person while vulnerable to the consequences of self-inflicted harm, or the assumption of some responsibility for the care of, or the provision of assistance to, such a person.’ However, the court was ‘not persuaded that by developing its own Social Responsibility Policy and Procedures William Hill can be said voluntarily to have assumed responsibility to all its problem gambler customers, in the sense of assuming responsibility to take care, with a concomitant liability to compensate customers injured in their mind or in their pocket by any failure to take care. ‘


Briggs J


[2008] EWHC 454 (Ch)




England and Wales


CitedHill v William Hill (Park Lane) Limited HL 1949
The policy behind the 1845 Act was to discourage gambling.
Viscount Simon said: ‘it is to be observed that though a Parliamentary enactment (like Parliamentary eloquence) is capable of saying the same thing twice over without adding anything to . .
CitedCommissioner of Police for the Metropolis v Reeves (Joint Administratix of The Estate of Martin Lynch, Deceased) HL 15-Jul-1999
The deceased was a prisoner known to be at risk of committing suicide. Whilst in police custody he hanged himself in his prison cell. The Commissioner accepted that he was in breach of his duty of care to the deceased, but not that that breach was . .
CitedPage v Smith HL 12-May-1995
The plaintiff was driving his car when the defendant turned into his path. Both cars suffered considerable damage but the drivers escaped physical injury. The Plaintiff had a pre-existing chronic fatigue syndrome, which manifested itself from time . .
CitedJohnston v NEI International Combustion Ltd; Rothwell v Chemical and Insulating Co Ltd; similar HL 17-Oct-2007
The claimant sought damages for the development of neural plaques, having been exposed to asbestos while working for the defendant. The presence of such plaques were symptomless, and would not themselves cause other asbestos related disease, but . .
CitedHM Customs and Excise v Barclays Bank Plc HL 21-Jun-2006
The claimant had served an asset freezing order on the bank in respect of one of its customers. The bank paid out on a cheque inadvertently as to the order. The Commissioners claimed against the bank in negligence. The bank denied any duty of care. . .
CitedWhite, Frost and others v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire and others HL 3-Dec-1998
No damages for Psychiatric Harm Alone
The House considered claims by police officers who had suffered psychiatric injury after tending the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy.
Held: The general rules restricting the recovery of damages for pure psychiatric harm applied to the . .
CitedAlcock and Others v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police HL 28-Nov-1991
The plaintiffs sought damages for nervous shock. They had watched on television, as their relatives and friends, 96 in all, died at a football match, for the safety of which the defendants were responsible. The defendant police service had not . .
CitedMcLoughlin v Jones; McLoughlin v Grovers (a Firm) CA 2002
In deciding whether a duty of care is established the court must go to the ‘battery of tests which the House of Lords has taught us to use’, namely: ‘. . the ‘purpose’ test (Banque Bruxelles Lambert SA v Eagle Star Insurance Co Ltd); the ‘assumption . .
CitedJebson v Ministry of Defence CA 28-Jun-2000
The claimant was a guardsman travelling in the rear of a service lorry. He fell from the tailgate suffering severe injury. He was drunk after a social trip.
Held: Though a person could normally expect to be responsible himself for incidents . .
CitedMichael Alexander Watson v British Boxing Board of Control Ltd, World Boxing Organisation Incorporated CA 19-Dec-2000
The claimant was seriously injured in a professional boxing match governed by rules established by the defendant’s rules. Ringside medical facilities were available, but did not provide immediate resuscitation. By the time he received resuscitation . .
CitedBarrett v Ministry of Defence CA 3-Jan-1995
The deceased was an off-duty naval airman. The claim was based upon the alleged negligent failure of the defendant to enforce disciplinary regulations against drunkenness so as to protect the deceased against his own known proclivity for alcohol . .
CitedPerre v Apand Pty Ltd 12-Aug-1999
(High Court of Australia) The plaintiff farmers sought damages for financial losses incurred after the defendant negligently introduced a disease. Although the disease was not shown to have spread, neighbouring farm owners suffered economic loss by . .
CitedHedley Byrne and Co Ltd v Heller and Partners Ltd HL 28-May-1963
Banker’s Liability for Negligent Reference
The appellants were advertising agents. They were liable themselves for advertising space taken for a client, and had sought a financial reference from the defendant bankers to the client. The reference was negligent, but the bankers denied any . .
CitedGaloo Ltd and Others v Bright Grahame Murray CA 21-Dec-1993
It is for the Court to decide whether the breach of duty was the cause of a loss or simply the occasion for it by the application of common sense. A breach of contract, to found recovery, must be shown to have been ‘an ‘effective’ or ‘dominant’ . .

Cited by:

See alsoCalvert v William Hill Credit Ltd CA 4-Jul-2008
The claimant had begun an appeal against a failure of his claim in negligence against his bookmakers saying that they should not have allowed him to lay bets. The respondents then sought interim orders as to costs which were settled, and now sought . .
Appeal fromCalvert v William Hill Credit Ltd CA 16-Dec-2008
The claimant sought damages saying that his bookmaker had continued to accept his bets after he had made it known that he was a compulsive gambler.
Held: The bookmaker was not liable for the gambler’s losses when he failed to uphold the . .
ApprovedThe Ritz Hotel Casino Ltd v Al Daher QBD 15-Aug-2014
The claimant sought to recover andpound;1m on unpaid cheques. The cheques represented half of the sum gambled away by the defendant in one evening. She now alleged that the claimant had not complied with its duties under the 2005 Act to act . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 24 April 2022; Ref: scu.266162