Chaudry v Prabhakar: CA 1988

The plaintiff sued a friend of hers for wrongly advising her that a car she was thinking of buying was in good condition.
Held: An agent, even a volunteer, owed a duty of care appropriate for those circumstances. The measurement was objective, not subjective. The defendant knew he was to be relied upon, and the circumstances (a crumpled bonnet) suggested that further enquiry was required. The relationship may be material. If they are friends, the court may find that the arrangement was purely social, and according to the circumstances, did not give rise to a duty of care.
Stuart Smith LJ said: ‘When considering the question of whether a duty of care arises, the relationship between the parties is material. If they are friends, the true view may be that the advice or representation is made on a purely social occasion and the circumstances show that there has not been a voluntary assumption of responsibility.’
Stocker LJ said: ‘in my view, in the absence of other factors giving rise to such a duty, the giving of advice sought in the context of family, domestic or social relationships will not in itself give rise to any duty in respect of such advice.’
May LJ said: ‘I for my part respectfully doubt whether counsel’s concession in the instant case was rightly made in law. I do not find the conclusion that one must impose on a family friend looking out for a first car for a girl of 26 a Donoghue v Stevenson duty of care in and about his quest, enforceable with all the formalities of the law of tort, entirely attractive.’


Stuart Smith, Stocker, May LJJ


[1989] 1 WLR 29, [1988] 3 All ER 718


England and Wales


Dictum appliedHoughland v R R Low (Luxury Coaches) Ltd CA 1962
A passenger’s bag had been placed in one coach that had broken down was intended to be transferred to a second coach. When the second coach arrived at the passenger’s destination the bag was not in the hold.
Held: The duty of care of a bailee . .
AppliedHedley 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 . .
CitedDonoghue (or M’Alister) v Stevenson HL 26-May-1932
Decomposed Snail in Ginger Beer Bottle – Liability
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Agency, Negligence

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.188809