Bringing a claim against a public authority in negligence—basis of duty
Bringing a claim against a public authority in negligence—basis of duty

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Bringing a claim against a public authority in negligence—basis of duty
  • When will a public authority owe a duty of care?
  • Foreseeability
  • Liability for causing harm
  • Control over third party
  • Assumption of responsibility
  • The courts’ approach in novel cases
  • New categories of negligence
  • Should the common law develop to mirror the duties under the ECHR?
  • The significance of the statutory backdrop
  • More...

When will a public authority owe a duty of care?

The Supreme Court considered the duty of care owed by public authorities in the cases of Michael and Robinson.

In Michael, Ms Michael made a 999 call to inform the police that her former partner had threatened to kill her. However, the call handler failed to pass on the threat to kill and as a result the 999 call was given a lower priority which caused a delay in the police response. Ms Michael was killed by her ex-partner before the police arrived.

In Robinson, an elderly pedestrian was knocked over by police officers who were trying to arrest a suspected drug dealer.

In these cases, the Supreme Court set out the following general principles which apply in cases against public authorities:

  1. a duty of care is owed to avoid negligent acts (subject to harm being foreseeable)

  2. the common law does not normally impose a duty of care to protect individuals from harm caused by a third party unless the public authority:

    1. was in a position of control over the third party and harm was foreseeable, or

    2. assumed responsibility for an individual’s safety on which that individual relied and harm was foreseeable

In Michael, the Supreme Court found that the defendant did not owe a duty of care to Ms Michael on the basis that the negligence was a

Related documents:

Popular documents