Tort 5b: Negligence

Terms in this set (52)

X: decisions LA whether or not to take child into care. LBW "in order to found a cause of action flowing from the careless exercise of statutory powers or duties, the plaintiff has to show that the circumstances are such as to raise a duty of care at common law. The mere assertion of the careless exercise of a statutory power or duty is not sufficient."
2 types of cases:
distinction is between (a) taking care in exercising a statutory discretion whether or not to do an act and
(b) having decided to do that act, taking care in the manner in which you do it
problem cases : Most statutes which impose a statutory duty on local authorities confer on the authority a discretion as to the extent
to which, LA cannot be liable in damages for doing that which Parliament has authorised. ... (Dorset Yacht and Anns v Merton LBC)

courts cannot enter upon the assessment of such 'policy' matters. MUST decide if a given decision is POLICY...

generally: it is for that authority, not for the courts, to exercise the discretion. If outside the statutory discretion, it can (but not necessarily will) give rise to common law liability.

DOC cannot be imposed on statutory duty if observance of such DOC would be inconsistent with, or have tendency to discourage, due performance by local authority of its statutory duties

Lord justice Laws
POLICY is immune, but not "operations".
immunity which this principle gives will not apply to a decision so unreasonable that it cannot be said to have been taken under the statute.
Hill v CC of West Yorkshire
Osman v Ferguson (1993) (CA)
Osman v UK : TEST
Alexandrou v Oxford (1993) (CA)
Police called out by burglar alarm at plaintiff's shop, failed to inspect rear of shop where burglars were hiding, who then removed goods.
A plaintiff alleging that a defendant owed a duty to take reasonable care to prevent loss to him caused by the activities of another person had to prove not merely that it was foreseeable that loss would result if the defendant did not exercise reasonable care but also that he stood in a special relationship to the defendant from which the duty of care would arise. On the facts, there was no such special relationship between the plaintiff and the police because the communication with the police was by way of an emergency call which in no material way differed from such a call by an ordinary member of the public and if a duty of care owed to the plaintiff were to be imposed on the police that same duty would be owed to all members of the public who informed the police of a crime being committed or about to be committed against them or their property.
not PI to impose DOC

Swinney v CC of Northumbria (1996) (CA) : shows change in thinking, no blanket immunity
Details of the plaintiff police informant were stolen from an unattended police vehicle, who was then threatened with violence and arson and suffered psychiatric damage
It was at least arguable that a special relationship existed between the police and an informant who passed on information in confidence implicating a person known to be violent which distinguished the information from the general public as being particularly at risk and gave rise to a duty of care on the police to keep such information secure.
Moreover, while the police were generally immune from suit on grounds of public policy in relation to their activities in the investigation or suppression of crime, that immunity had to be weighed against other considerations of public policy, including the need to protect informers,police had in fact assumed a responsibility of confidentiality to the plaintiffs and, considering all relevant public policy factors in the round, that prosecution of the plaintiffs' claim was not precluded by the principle of immunity.

Reeves v Commissioner of Police (1999) (HL)