Duty of care

Negligence is a type of Tort law, which is a legal term that means criminal wrong, as opposed to a civil wrong, having mandatory duties for all citizens in that jurisdiction. In this law, the aims are deterrence, compensation and justice which can basically induce as protect people's bodies and property in order to make people behave properly. Negligence placed an important role in tort law system.

Apart from negligence, there are certain torts that specifically protect particular areas such as Defamation for protecting individual's reputation and Trespass for protecting Land, Person as well as Goods. If one party fail to exercise reasonable car, thereby causing injury to others or damage to property, he will then be negligent. In definition, negligence is concerned with compensating people who have suffered damage as a result of the carelessness of some parties else.

In order to establish negligence, that is the duty of claimant to prove that the defendant committed the negligence law, having three essentials elements need to be considered. The first element of establishing negligence is that the defendant owed a duty of care to the claimant. It is general that motorists owe a duty of care to other road users, employers owe a dusty of care to their employees as well as doctors owe a duty of care to their patients and so on.

However, there was no generalised duty of care in negligence before a case called Donoghue v Stevenson [1932]. In this case, it illustrates an important principle called "Neighbour Principle", greatly affecting the clarification of duty of care as well as the negligence law. Mrs Donoghue was given a ginger beer by her friend, who bought it from Mr Stevenson's shop located in Scotland. A snail was found in the beer and eventually Donoghue suffered from illness. However, there was no contract relationship between Donoghue and Stevenson.

Thus, the court interpreted the message of neighbour principle, meaning that parties must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Although a neighbour principle has been constructed, it has been criticised as being too wide in defining the liability for negligence. It is therefore necessary for making some clarifications or narrowing the area of negligence. In 1990, a case called Caparo Industries plc v Dickman [1990], it introduced a vital test for deciding whether a duty of care is owed by the defendant to the claimant.