Duty of Care in English Law

Duty Of Care In English Law

In English tort law, an individual may owe a duty of care by another, to ensure that they do not suffer any unreasonable harm or loss. If such a duty is found to be breached, a legal liability is imposed upon the tortfeasor to compensate the victim for any losses they incur. The idea of individuals owing strangers a duty of care – where beforehand such duties were only found from contractual arrangements – developed at common law, throughout the 20th century. The doctrine was significantly developed in the case of Donoghue v Stevenson, where a woman succeeded in establishing a manufacturer of ginger beer owed her a duty of care, where it had been negligently produced. Following this, the duty concept has expanded into a coherent judicial test, which must be satisfied in order to claim in negligence.

Generally, a duty of care arises where one individual or group undertakes an activity which could reasonably harm another, either physically, mentally, or economically. This includes common activities such as driving (where physical injury may occur), as well as specialised activities such as dispensing reliant economic advice (where economic loss may occur). Where an individual has not created a situation which may cause harm, no duty of care exists to warn others of dangerous situations or prevent harm occurring to them; such acts are known as pure omissions, and liability may only arise where a prior special relationship exists to necessitate them.

Read more about Duty Of Care In English Law:  Duty of Care, Status of The Claimant, Duty of Care For Omissions, Liability of Public Bodies

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Duty Of Care In English Law - Liability of Public Bodies
... act in the same way that an individual may however, for policy reasons, the duty of care which a public body may owe is different to that of private individuals or organisations ... is not of a physical kind, or a negligent omission is committed, that the formulation of a duty of care differs ...

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