Discussion of liability

The Law of Tort is a branch of the civil law which provides possible remedies for the protection of a person's interests in relation to different forms of loss which may be experienced as a result of different types of incident. Examples of loss may include physical damage to the body or to property, economic loss, emotional distress and injury to reputation. Various situations may give rise to such damage: traffic accidents, work-related incidents, medical incidents, economic loss caused by professional incompetence, incidents between adjoining neighbors and damage caused by animals.

In the "A" part of this paper we'll go through several cases to which the tort law can be applied. The "B" part is a discussion of liability, standards and duty of care. A. Here we'll apply the tort law to three situations and will define how each person can be helped in the following situations: Property damage Bob's mobile phone is damaged because one of the sprinklers bursts in Diana's gym. Solution Diana knew that her fire-protection system should be serviced each year. The avoidable damage was negligently caused because she didn't take care of it.

Her negligence caused damage which is to be compensated and she owes Bob a duty of care like in case Home Office v Dorset Yacht Co Ltd1: "… The fact that the immediate damage to the property of the respondents was caused by the acts of third persons, the trainees, did not prevent the existence of a duty on the part of the officers towards the respondents because … the damage was the very kind of thing which the officers ought to have seen to be likely… "(Lord Reid). 2 And one more thing of our case similar to Home Office v Dorset Yacht Co Ltd is:

"… causing of damage … ought to have been foreseen … as likely to occur if they failed to exercise proper control of supervision; in the particular circumstances the officers prima facie owed a duty of care to the respondents… "(Lord Reid). 3 One more case to illustrate this situation is Miller v Jackson4 where a cricket club was liable for the nuisance created by balls being hit out of the ground. "The club were liable in negligence for there was a foreseeable risk of injury to the plaintiffs and their property from the cricket balls"5

So, the accident could be foreseen and that's why Diana, due to her negligence, owes Bob a duty of care towards his property. Personal Injury Ian slips on the wet floor and breaks his arm. Solution Applying the usual rules of tort (Spartan Steel & Alloys v Martin & Co [1972] 3 All ER 557)6 the claimant can recover for personal injury. In tort, while consequential economic loss caused by physical damage may be claimed solely on the basis of causation, further economic loss, or loss of profit, can only be claimed it is sufficiently foreseeable and not too remote.

Limitation on the extent of the claim may be argued in terms of duty of care or forseeability. 7 Although Lord Denning in Spartan Steel & Alloys Ltd v Martin and Co (Contractors) Ltd,8 suggested that the real boundary to liability was based in policy and criticized the duty/remoteness test as being too elusive and one that should be abandoned, arguing that the court should simply take into account the particular circumstances of the parties, the nature of the relationship and policy,9 the test of remoteness remains a useful tool for limiting liability.

Forseeability and proximity remain the generally accepted tests for recoverable loss in tort. 10 Health and safety legislation which may also be applied to this case, in the UK is made under the power of various Acts of Parliament. The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) is the main Act which allows the Health and Safety Commission to bring in new legislations appropriate. [3. 6] The Act places a duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees (Section 2 of HSWA).

It also requires employers, employees, and the self-employed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of other persons who may be affected by their undertakings (Section 3)11. So, the accident could be foreseen; it was caused by undertakings and negligence of the bar owners, that's why Ian can recover for personal injury and the bar owners owe him a duty of care. Pure economic loss Peter misses an appointment worth 80 pounds while waiting for the fire brigade. Solution

Historically, there has been a reluctance of the Courts to extend liability in tort to situations where the only loss suffered by the Plaintiff is economic, without the occurrence of actual physical damage to either person or property. This view was confirmed in the House of Lords case Murphy v Brentwood DC [1990] 2 All ER 908, HL. 12 In this case The House of Lords ruled that the claimant's loss was purely economic and liability was raised under ordinary principles of negligence exactly like in our case.

The court decision in Murphy v Brentwood was that the council accordingly had owed no duty of care to the plaintiff. In Caparo Industries plc v Dickman [1990] 2 AC 60513 the House of Lords held that it is not sufficient for the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was in breach of a duty of care owed to him. He must also show that the particular loss fell within the scope of the duty. Lord Bridge of Harwich said:

"It is never sufficient to ask simply whether A owes B a duty of care. It is always necessary to determine the scope of the duty by reference to the kind of damage from which A must take care to save B harmless. "14 Accordingly auditors were not liable for their failure to use reasonable care in auditing a company's accounts to a shareholder who relied on the accounts in order to make a take-over bid for the company.

They were in breach of their duty of care to the plaintiff because it was a shareholder in the company, but they were not liable for loss which it suffered in a different capacity, shared with every one else, as a potential buyer of the company's shares. Despite the way in which Lord Bridge formulated the issue, it is conceptually better to say that the defendant's liability for the consequences of his actions is limited by reference to the scope of the duty than to say that the duty itself is owed only with respect to a particular kind of loss.

15 Liability is given if "the defendant giving advice or information was fully aware of the nature of the transaction which the plaintiff had in contemplation, knew that the advice or information would be communicated to him directly or indirectly and knew that it was very likely that the plaintiff would rely on that advice or information in deciding whether or not to engage in the transaction in contemplation". 16 So, as it is shown in the given examples, Peter also cannot recover for his loss (which is a pure economic one).

2. An essential part of each civilized state is the legislative, executive and judicial powers which define the rights and obligations of each state citizen. The rules which must be abided are compensated by the rights which give an individual some freedom of fulfilling certain actions. In their turn all these actions are still to correspond with the obligations and laws regulating social life of the country. In contemporary Europe the legislative standards are based on democracy and human freedoms.

Defined standards of care give people an opportunity to defend themselves in unfair circumstances. The system works in the ways have been already checked for it has been previously applied to similar cases. Through years of such practice a perfect mechanism yields and gives people confidence when deciding whether they do right or wrong and what to do, what to apply to in each particular situation. Strict liability and negligence The legal regimes in the United Kingdom for the remedying of damage already often provide for strict liability of those responsible for the damage.

In the field of public law, there are many examples of restricting circumstances. A clear example is the new regime for contaminated land under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 199017, which makes the person who has caused or knowingly permitted contamination of land liable, subject to certain limitations, to remedy the damage, without any proof of negligence. In the field of private law, in England and Wales, liability under the common law rule in Rylands v Fletcher18 does not require proof of negligence.

This rule provides that where a person brings onto his land something which is likely to do mischief if it escapes (provided it amounts to a non-natural use of the land), he will be liable if the thing escapes and causes damage. Liability under the common law rules of nuisance (which can cover many forms of environmental damage) also arises without the need to prove negligence. The proposal for a general regime of strict liability would not, therefore, introduce any new principle. The effects of such a regime would therefore depend on the extent to which it extended strict liability beyond the areas in which it already arises.