A surveyor acting on behalf of the classification society had recommended that after repairs specified by him had been carried out a vessel, the Nicholas H, should be allowed to proceed. It was lost at sea.
Held: The marine classification society was not liable in negligence to the owner of a cargo, where it was alleged that damage flowed from a negligent ship survey. A duty of care is imposed only where it was just and reasonable to do so. It was indirect damage, and economic loss. There was no contact between the cargo owners and the classification society. It was not even suggested that the cargo owners knew of the survey, they simply relied on the owners to keep the vessel seaworthy and to look after the cargo.
In relation to a novel category of negligence, the imposition of liability must satisfy a three stage test of foreseeability, proximity and fairness. Lord Steyn said that in the field of negligence, the common law: ‘develops incrementally on the basis of a consideration of analogous cases where a duty has been recognised or desired.’
Lord Steyn, Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, Lord Browne-Wilkinson, Lord Lloyd of Berwick
Gazette 06-Sep-1995, Independent 18-Aug-1995, Times 07-Jul-1995,  3 All ER 307,  UKHL 4,  1 AC 211,  CLC 934,  2 LLR 299,  ECC 120,  3 WLR 227,  2 Lloyd’s Rep 299
England and Wales
Appeal from – Marc Rich and Co Ag and Others v Bishop Rock Marine Co Ltd and Others; The Nicholas H CA 3-Feb-1994
The duty of care does not vary with the nature of damage, as to whether it is physical or financial. The relationship of the parties is to be taken into account in assessing the extent of damage.
Saville LJ said: ‘the three so-called . .
Cited – Riverstone Meat Co Pty Ltd v Lancashire Shipping Co Ltd HL 1961
Cargo was damaged in the course of a voyage by the failure of a fitter employed by ship repairers to secure the inspection cover on a storm valve. The cargo owner sued the shipowner in contract, and recovered.
Held: It was no defence that the . .
Cited – Caparo 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 . .
Cited – Mobil Oil Hong Kong Ltd v Hong Kong United Docklands Ltd. (the ‘Hua Lien’) 1991
Cited – Grant v Australian Knitting Mills PC 21-Oct-1935
(Australia) The Board considered how a duty of care may be established: ‘All that is necessary as a step to establish a tort of actionable negligence is define the precise relationship from which the duty to take care is deduced. It is, however, . .
Cited – Binod Sutradhar v Natural Environment Research Council CA 20-Feb-2004
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 – JD 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 . .
Cited – Regina v Lam and Others (T/a ‘Namesakes of Torbay’) and Borough of Torbay CA 30-Jul-1997
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 – Welton, Welton v North Cornwall District Council CA 17-Jul-1996
The defendant authority appealed a finding that it was liable in negligence from the conduct of one of its environmental health officers. The plaintiff had set out to refurbish and open a restaurant. He said the officer gave him a list of things he . .
Cited – D Pride and Partners (A Firm) and Others v Institute for Animal Health and Others QBD 31-Mar-2009
The claimants sought damages after the loss of business when the defendants’ premises were the source of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. The organism had escaped from their premises via a broken drain.
Held: Much of the damage claimed . .
Cited – Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police SC 8-Feb-2018
Limits to Police Exemption from Liability
The claimant, an elderly lady was bowled over and injured when police were chasing a suspect through the streets. As they arrested him they fell over on top of her. She appealed against refusal of her claim in negligence.
Held: Her appeal . .
Cited – Perrett v Collins, Underwood PFA (Ulair) Limited (T/a Popular Flying Association) CA 22-May-1998
The plaintiff was a passenger in an aircraft which crashed, and there was a preliminary issue as to the liability to him of those who certified that the aircraft was fit to fly. The propeller was mismatched to the gearbox.
Held: A certifying . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Transport, Professional Negligence, Negligence
Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.83395