Outram v Academy Plastics Ltd: CA 19 Apr 2000

An employer, who also operated as trustee of the company’s pension scheme, has no duty in negligence to give advice to scheme members as to how they should conduct their own membership of the scheme. No such obligation arises from the contractual relationship. Common law does not generally impose liability in tort for a pure omission. ‘ Looking more generally at the nature of the duty alleged, it is, of course, a duty to avoid causing economic loss. Secondly, if there is a duty, breach of it will result in liability for an omission (failure to advise) in circumstances where it is not alleged that the company were asked or expressly or impliedly assumed any contractual responsibility to give such advice. As a general rule the common law does not impose liability in tort for what are called ‘pure omissions’. In this respect it should be noted that in all the ‘advice’cases some advice had been given. The courts have had to decide whether it was given in circumstances which required the adviser to take care or whether a duty to do so, which was admittedly owed to some, was also owed to others. When advice has been given and a duty is owed the duty may be breached by omission but our case is one where no advice was given so it is one of pure omission.’


Tuckey LJ


Times 26-Apr-2000, Gazette 18-May-2000, [2000] EWCA Civ 141, [2001] 1CR 367




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedCommissioner of Police of the Metropolis v Lennon CA 20-Feb-2004
The claimant police officer considered being transferred to Northern Ireland. He asked and was incorrectly told that his housing allowance would not be affected by taking time off work.
Held: The break between employments had affected his . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Financial Services, Employment, Negligence

Updated: 31 May 2022; Ref: scu.147174