Royster v Cavey: CA 1946

The plaintiff sought damages after being injured on her way to work. The Crown nominated the superintendent of a factory in which the plaintiff was injured as its occupier in order to allow the claim which would otherwise have failed for Crown privilege. The court below had refused to allow this fiction.
Held: The plaintiff’s appeal failed. Crucial admissions on which the case had been conducted at first instance should not be accepted, because they were contrary to fact.
Scott LJ said: ‘As a matter of fact . . the defendant so named had nothing whatever to do with the accident; he was not the occupier of the premises; he had not been guilty of any negligence, nor of any breach of statutory duty under the Act. Those allegations, that he did occupy that position and was so guilty, were accepted by the defence to the extent of not raising the question of his personal position.’
Buckhill LJ said: ‘The result is, in my view, that this court cannot pronounce judgment against a defendant when in truth and in fact he is not under any liability at all.’

Scott, Buckhill LJJ
[1946] 2 All ER 642, [1947] KB 204
England and Wales
FollowedAdams v Naylor HL 1946
The House disapproved of the practice of appointing a nominee defendant in tort actions against whom damages could be awarded as opposed to a party with crown immunity. The House refused to entertain a claim against a nominated army officer arising . .

Cited by:
CitedDavidson v Scottish Ministers HL 15-Dec-2005
The complainant a prisoner sought an order that he should not be kept in conditions found to be inhumane. He had been detained in Barlinnie priosn. The Crown replied that a mandatory order was not available against the Scottish Ministers.
Constitutional, Personal Injury, Litigation Practice

Updated: 10 December 2021; Ref: scu.237563