Everett v Griffiths: HL 1921

The plaintiff had been committed to a mental hospital. The question was whether the doctor (Anklesaria) who signed the certificate to support his committal was liable to him in negligence.
Held: The House affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal, but without confirming this point. Lord Haldane thought it ‘probable that if the matter were argued out Anklesaria would have been found to have been under a duty to the appellant to exercise care, the precise nature of this duty would require consideration before it could be exactly defined.’ Lord Moulton: ‘If a man is required in the discharge of a public duty to make a decision which affects by its legal consequences, the liberty or property of others, and he performs that duty and makes that decision honestly and in good faith, it is, in my opinion, a fundamental principle of our law that he is protected. It is not consonant with the principles of our law to require a man to make such a decision in the discharge of the duty to the public and then leave him in peril by reason of the consequences to others of that decision, provided that he has acted honestly in making that decision.’


Lord Finlay, Lord Moulton, Viscount Haldane, Viscount Cave


[1921] 1 AC 631, 90 LJKB 737, 125 LT 230, 85 JP 140


England and Wales


Appeal fromEverett v Griffiths CA 1920
The plaintiff, who had been detained as a lunatic as the result of the decision of Griffiths, a Justice of the Peace and Chairman of the Board of Guardians in reliance on a medical certificate signed by Anklesaria, a Doctor, sued them both in . .

Cited 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 . .
No longer sustainableID and others v The Home Office (BAIL for Immigration Detainees intervening) CA 27-Jan-2005
The claimants sought damages and other reliefs after being wrongfully detained by immigration officers for several days, during which they had been detained at a detention centre and left locked up when it burned down, being released only by other . .
CitedJD v East Berkshire Community Health NHS Trust and others HL 21-Apr-2005
Parents of children had falsely and negligently been accused of abusing their children. The children sought damages for negligence against the doctors or social workers who had made the statements supporting the actions taken. The House was asked if . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Negligence, Professional Negligence, Health Professions

Updated: 06 May 2022; Ref: scu.216358