K v the Secretary of State for the Home Department: CA 31 May 2002

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 against a strike out of her claim. She had been refused information about the decision to release the offender because it was anticipated that her claim would in any event be struck out. It was later struck out because the claimant was not so clearly identifiable a victim of the offender as to anticipate a duty to her.
Held: Negligence requires more than a want of care and foreseeability of damage. Where the duty of care is imposed on one person for the acts of another, the claimant must show a close connection with the offender so as to have created an awareness of the risk in the person against whom liability is asserted. The general rule is that one man is under no duty of controlling another man to prevent his doing damage to a third. The claimant argued that the Barrett case stated that a claim alleging negligence against a pubic authority should not be struck out but should be allowed to proceed for the facts to be established at trial. A strike out of a negligence claim for lack of proximity is not a denial of the applicant’s article 6 right to a fair trial. Appeal dismissed.


Lord Justice Simon Brown, Lord Justice Laws, And Lady Justice Arden


[2002] EWCA Civ 775




European Convention on Human Rights 6


England and Wales


CitedStovin v Wise, Norfolk County Council (Third Party) HL 24-Jul-1996
Statutory Duty Does Not Create Common Law Duty
The mere existence of statutory power to remedy a defect cannot of itself create a duty of care to do so. A highway authority need not have a duty of care to highway users because of its duty to maintain the highway. The two stage test ‘involves . .
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 . .
CitedDorset Yacht Co Ltd v Home Office HL 6-May-1970
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 . .
CitedCaparo Industries Plc v Dickman and others HL 8-Feb-1990
Limitation of Loss from Negligent Mis-statement
The plaintiffs sought damages from accountants for negligence. They had acquired shares in a target company and, relying upon the published and audited accounts which overstated the company’s earnings, they purchased further shares.
Held: The . .
CitedYuen Kun-Yeu v Attorney-General of Hong Kong PC 1987
(Hong Kong) The claimant deposited money with a licensed deposit taker, regulated by the Commissioner. He lost his money when the deposit taker went into insolvent liquidation. He said the regulator was responsible when it should have known of the . .
CitedBarrett v London Borough of Enfield HL 17-Jun-1999
The claimant had spent his childhood in foster care, and now claimed damages against a local authority for decisions made and not made during that period. The judge’s decision to strike out the claim had been upheld by the Court of Appeal.
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Negligence, Human Rights

Updated: 06 June 2022; Ref: scu.172268