Bringing a claim—breach of statutory duty
Bringing a claim—breach of statutory duty

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

  • Bringing a claim—breach of statutory duty
  • Where the statute or statutory instrument expressly provides that claimants will be entitled to bring a claim for breach of statutory duty
  • In what circumstances might the court find that the right to sue for breach of statutory duty can be read into the relevant statute?
  • Right of action is unlikely to exist
  • Health and safety legislation
  • Requirement for protection of a limited class of people
  • Regulatory legislation and legislation designed to promote social welfare
  • Availability of alternative remedies
  • Final hurdles for the claimant

Practitioners should note that in relation to claims against employers, on 1 October 2013, s 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA 2013) rewrote s 47 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA 1974). In relation to accidents occurring at work from 1 October 2013, civil liability will no longer arise from a breach of statutory duty unless the relevant regulation provides for it. For further guidance see Practice Note: Section 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.

Where the statute or statutory instrument expressly provides that claimants will be entitled to bring a claim for breach of statutory duty

Sometimes the legislation will make it plain that failure to fulfil the relevant duty (effectively or at all) is intended to create a right of action (ie to entitle claimants to sue for breach of statutory duty). Where the legislation itself expressly (a) creates a right of action, or (b) modifies existing common law duties, then the position should be relatively straightforward.

The best known example for the purposes of personal injury lawyers is the right to sue if a claimant is injured because of the local authority’s failure to perform its statutory duty to maintain the highway (for more information, see Practice Note: Accidents on the highway—duty to maintain).

The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 is another example commonly

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