Bringing a claim—private law claim for breach of statutory duty
Produced in partnership with Catriona Stirling of Cloisters
Bringing a claim—private law claim for breach of statutory duty

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note Produced in partnership with Catriona Stirling of Cloisters provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Bringing a claim—private law claim for breach of statutory duty
  • What is a private law claim for breach of statutory duty?
  • Breach of statutory duty versus negligence
  • Can there be a private law claim if the public authority fails to exercise a statutory power?
  • Why does it matter whether the public authority’s act was public or private in nature?
  • Generally
  • Claims under HRA 1998

What is a private law claim for breach of statutory duty?

A private law claim for breach of statutory duty is a claim that:

  1. the defendant was under a statutory duty to do something

  2. that something was not done, and

  3. the breach of duty resulted in damage to the claimant

A claim for breach of statutory duty, if it gives rise to a cause of action in private law, will be possible against any entity that is subject to that duty, whether a public authority or a private body. One example of a statutory provision which gives rise to a private law action is section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 (HiA 1980) which allows users of the highway to sue for a failure to maintain the highway.

In addition, where a public authority acts in breach of a statutory duty, an individual who has been adversely affected may be entitled to bring a public law claim seeking judicial review of the authority’s actions.

However, many statutory duties do not give rise to a cause of action in private law. Most claims against public authorities are therefore brought in negligence rather than for a breach of statutory duty.

For example, in the personal injury field, section 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 has amended section 47 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

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