Powell and Another v Boldaz and others: CA 1 Jul 1997

The plaintiff’s son aged 10 died of Addison’s Disease which had not been diagnosed. An action against the Health Authority was settled. The parents then brought an action against 5 doctors in their local GP Practice in relation to matters that had taken place post death. The allegations included conspiracy to injure by unlawful means.
Held: An unlawful act actionable at the suit of the claimant was a necessary ingredient of unlawful means conspiracy.
No duty of care was owed because the element of proximity was lacking.
Stuart-Smith LJ said: ‘I propose to consider first whether a sufficient relationship of proximity existed. It must be appreciated that prior to April 17th 1990 although the Plaintiffs were patients of the Defendants in the sense that they were on their register, the only patient who was seeking medical advice and treatment was Robert. It was to him that the Defendants owed a duty of care. The discharge of that duty in the case of a young child will often involve giving advice and instruction to the parents so that they can administer the appropriate medication, observe relevant symptoms and seek further medical assistance if need be. In giving such advice, the Doctor obviously owes a duty to be careful. It was to him [the child] that the defendants owed a duty of care. The discharge of that duty in the case of a young child will often involve giving advice and instruction to the parents so that they can administer the appropriate medication, observe relevant symptoms and seek further medical assistance if need be. In giving such advice, the doctor obviously owes a duty to be careful. But the duty is owed to the child, not to the parents.’ and ‘After the death, the defendants may owe the plaintiffs a duty of care; but this depends upon whether they are called upon, or undertake, to treat them as patients.’
Stuart-Smith LJ, Morritt LJ and Shiemann LJ
[1997] EWCA Civ 2002, [1998] Lloyds Rep Med 116, [1997] 39 BMLR 35
Bailii
Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934, Fatal Accidents Act 1978
England and Wales
Citing:
AppliedCaparo 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 . .
CitedSidaway v Board of Governors of the Bethlem Royal Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital HL 21-Feb-1985
The plaintiff alleged negligence in the failure by a surgeon to disclose or explain to her the risks inherent in the operation which he had advised.
Held: The appeal failed. A mentally competent patient has an absolute right to refuse to . .
CitedLonrho Ltd v Shell Petroleum Co Ltd (No 2) HL 1-Apr-1981
No General Liability in Tort for Wrongful Acts
The plaintiff had previously constructed an oil supply pipeline from Beira to Mozambique. After Rhodesia declared unilateral independence, it became a criminal offence to supply to Rhodesia without a licence. The plaintiff ceased supply as required, . .
CitedHargreaves v Bretherton 1959
The Plaintiff pleaded that the First Defendant police officer had falsely and maliciously and without justification or excuse committed perjury at the Plaintiff’s trial on charges of criminal offences and that as a result the Plaintiff had been . .
CitedMarrinan v Vibart CA 1962
The court considered an action in the form an attempt to circumvent the immunity of a witness at civil law by alleging a conspiracy.
Held: The claim was rejected. The court considered the basis of the immunity from action given to witnesses. . .

Cited by:
CitedAB and others v Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust QBD 26-Mar-2004
Representative claims were made against the respondents, hospitals, pathologists etc with regard to the removal of organs from deceased children without the informed consent of the parents. They claimed under the tort of wrongful interference.
Binding – AppliedTotal Network Sl v Customs and Excise Commissioners CA 31-Jan-2007
The defendants suspected a carousel VAT fraud. The defendants appealed a finding that there was a viable cause of action alleging a ‘conspiracy where the unlawful means alleged is a common law offence of cheating the public revenue’. The defendants . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 30 April 2021; Ref: scu.142399