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 must do. He had done them, but the licence was still refused. A Local Authority was liable after its environmental health officer negligently required food premises to do unnecessary work. The plaintiffs established an assumption of responsibility on the part of a servant of the defendant authority in respect of statements made to the plaintiffs as to the alterations necessary to secure compliance with food regulations. The guidance was given with an inplied threat of sanctions if they were not followed, and the authority could not resile from hem.


Rose LJ, Ward LJ, Judge LJ


Gazette 18-Sep-1996, Times 18-Jul-1996, [1996] EWCA Civ 516, [1997] 1 WLR 570, [1997] PNLR 108




Food Safety Act 1990 44, Food Act 1984 116


England and Wales


CitedTidman v Reading Borough Council QBD 4-Nov-1994
The plaintiff wanted to sell his land. The purchaser wished to know the planning status and prospects for the land. The local authority published a leaflet encouraging those interested to seek guidance from the authority’s planning officers. The . .
CitedHill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire HL 28-Apr-1987
No General ty of Care Owed by Police
The mother of a victim of the Yorkshire Ripper claimed in negligence against the police alleging that they had failed to satisfy their duty to exercise all reasonable care and skill to apprehend the perpetrator of the murders and to protect members . .
CitedWelsh v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police 1993
On conviction for one offence, the plaintiff asked for two other offences to be taken into consideration. He was bailed pending sentence. He was then arrested for the other offences and wrongfully held in custody. The Crown Prosecution Service had . .
CitedOsman and another v Ferguson and another CA 7-Oct-1992
Limits of Police duty to protect
A schoolmaster developed an infatuation for a teenage pupil. It led to the killing of the pupil’s father, the wounding of the pupil, the wounding of a deputy headmaster and the killing of the deputy headmaster’s son. Mr Osman’s widow and the pupil . .
CitedAlexandrou v Oxford (Chief Constable of the Merseyside Police) CA 16-Feb-1990
A shop was burgled. The shop-owner blamed the police for their negligent investigation.
Held: The police were not liable in negligence. . .
CitedElguzouli-Daf v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and Another CA 16-Nov-1994
The Court upheld decisions striking out actions for negligence brought by claimants who had been arrested and held in custody during criminal investigations which were later discontinued. The Crown Prosecution Service owes no general duty of care to . .
CitedAncell and Another v McDermott and Others CA 17-Mar-1993
Police are under no duty to warn road users of a hazard on road. The police have no general liability in negligence for reasons of public policy. . .
CitedAncell v McDermott CA 29-Jan-1993
The plaintiff sought damages in negligence. Diesel had been spilled on the road. Though police officers saw it and took basic steps, the deceased was in a car which skidded on the diesel some time later. . .
CitedPeabody Donation Fund v Sir Lindsay Parkinson and Co Ltd HL 18-Oct-1983
Architects proposed a system of flexible drains for a site, but the contractors persuaded them to accept rigid drains which once laid proved inadequate at considerable cost. The local authority had permitted the departure from the plans.
Held: . .
CitedRyeford Homes v Seven Oaks District Council 1989
The planning function is exercised by a local authority on behalf of the public at large and not for private individuals. . .
CitedCaparo 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 . .
CitedAncell v McDermott CA 29-Jan-1993
The plaintiff sought damages in negligence. Diesel had been spilled on the road. Though police officers saw it and took basic steps, the deceased was in a car which skidded on the diesel some time later. . .
CitedSwinney and Another v Chief Constable of Northumbria CA 22-Mar-1996
The plaintiff, a woman and her husband, had passed on information in confidence to the police about the identity of a person implicated in the killing of a police officer, expressing her concern that she did not want the source of the information to . .
CitedMarc Rich and Co Ag and Others v Bishop Rock Marine Co Ltd and Others HL 6-Jul-1995
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 . .
CitedSmith v Eric S Bush, a firm etc HL 20-Apr-1989
In Smith, the lender instructed a valuer who knew that the buyer and mortgagee were likely to rely on his valuation alone. The valuer said his terms excluded responsibility. The mortgagor had paid an inspection fee to the building society and . .
CitedX (Minors) v Bedfordshire County Council; M (A Minor) and Another v Newham London Borough Council; Etc HL 29-Jun-1995
Liability in Damages on Statute Breach to be Clear
Damages were to be awarded against a Local Authority for breach of statutory duty in a care case only if the statute was clear that damages were capable of being awarded. in the ordinary case a breach of statutory duty does not, by itself, give rise . .
CitedHenderson v Merrett Syndicates Ltd HL 25-Jul-1994
Lloyds Agents Owe Care Duty to Member; no Contract
Managing agents conducted the financial affairs of the Lloyds Names belonging to the syndicates under their charge. It was alleged that they managed these affairs with a lack of due careleading to enormous losses.
Held: The assumption of . .
CitedSpring v Guardian Assurance Plc and Others HL 7-Jul-1994
The plaintiff, who worked in financial services, complained of the terms of the reference given by his former employer. Having spoken of his behaviour towards members of the team, it went on: ‘his former superior has further stated he is a man of . .
CitedRowling v Takaro Properties Ltd PC 30-Nov-1987
(New Zealand) The minister had been called upon to consent to the issue of shares to a foreign investor. The plaintiff said that the minister’s negligent refusal of consent had led to the collapse of the project and financial losses.
Held: On . .
CitedT v Surrey County Council and Others QBD 21-Jan-1994
The mother of T, an injured baby who was under a year old, sued the council for failing to cancel the registration of a child minder who had previously cared for S, a four-month old child who suffered serious injury probably through shaking, and for . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Negligence, Local Government

Updated: 31 October 2022; Ref: scu.140383