O’Driscoll v Dudley Health Authority: CA 30 Apr 1998

The plaintiff sought damages for the negligence of the respondent in her care at birth. Years later the family concluded that her condition was a result of negligence. They waited until she was 21, when they mistakenly believed that she became an adult, and made a claim.
Held: The defendant’s appeal succeeded. The court had applied the more stringent test of proof of causation and fault instead of the less rigorous test of attributability as required by the statute. Under that test, the plaintiff was fixed with knowledge at a time such that her claim was now out of time.
Lord Justice Simon Brown, Lord Justice Otton, Sir Christopher Slade
[1998] EWCA Civ 747, [1998] Lloyds Law Reports: Medical 210
Limitation Act 1980 11 14
England and Wales
CitedDavis v Ministry of Defence CA 26-Jul-1985
May LJ said: ‘Knowledge’ is an ordinary English word with a clear meaning to which one must give full effect; ‘reasonable belief’ or ‘suspicion’ is not enough. The relevant question merits repetition – ‘when did the appellant first know that his . .
AppliedHalford v Brookes CA 1991
The plaintiff, the mother and administratrix of the estate of a 16 year old girl, alleged that her daughter had been murdered by one or both of the Defendants. The claim was for damages for battery. Rougier J at first instance had decided that: . .
CitedBroadley and Guy v Chapman and Co CA 26-Jul-1993
The limitation period starts when the plaintiff realizes that her injury may have been caused by the failure of the medical practitioner. ‘Attributable to’ means ‘capable of being attributed to’ and not ’caused by’. ‘Act or omission’ does not equate . .
CitedDobbie v Medway Health Authority CA 11-May-1994
The plaintiff had a lump on her breast. The surgeon, without first subjecting the lump to a microscopic examination in order to determine whether it was cancerous or benign, removed the breast. This was in 1973. The lump was subsequently found to be . .
CitedSpargo v North Essex District Health Authority QBD 1996
A plaintiff’s knowledge that her injury could be attributed to hypoxia, is not knowledge that the injury is attributable to the act or omission alleged to constitute negligence as might be pleaded in a statement of claim and no ordinary plaintiff . .
AppliedSpargo v North Essex District Health Authority CA 13-Mar-1997
The test of ‘When a plaintiff became aware of the cause of an injury’ is a subjective test of what passed through plaintiff’s mind. ‘(1) the knowledge required to satisfy s14(1)(b) is a broad knowledge of the essence of the causally relevant act or . .
CitedNash v Eli Lilly and Co CA 1993
The court considered whether a solicitor acting for a potential plaintiff was considered to be an expert for the purposes of the section.
Held: Purchas LJ said: ‘Of course as advice from a solicitor as to the legal consequences of the act or . .
CitedForbes v Wandsworth Health Authority CA 21-Mar-1996
The plaintiff had a history of circulatory problems in his legs. He underwent surgery losing his leg. The question was when he should have sought advice as to why an attempted by-pass operation had resulted in one leg having to be amputated. He . .

Cited by:
CitedAdams v Bracknell Forest Borough Council HL 17-Jun-2004
A attended the defendant’s schools between 1977 and 1988. He had always experienced difficulties with reading and writing and as an adult found those difficulties to be an impediment in his employment. He believed them to be the cause of the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 03 May 2021; Ref: scu.144225