Negligence—when is the duty of care breached?
Produced in partnership with Professor Richard A Buckley
Negligence—when is the duty of care breached?

The following Dispute Resolution practice note Produced in partnership with Professor Richard A Buckley provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Negligence—when is the duty of care breached?
  • Breach of duty of care—reasonableness
  • Breach of duty of care—objectivity
  • Establishing a breach of the duty of care—the four factors
  • Probability
  • Seriousness
  • Utility
  • Cost of precautions
  • 'Desirable activities' should not be deterred—Compensation Act 2006
  • Is common practice relevant to determine whether a duty has been breached?
  • More...

Having established that a duty of care exists (see Practice Note: Negligence—when does a duty of care arise?), it is then necessary to consider whether or not there has been a breach of that duty. This will depend on a number of factors outlined below and considered against the general background of reasonableness objectively considered.

Breach of duty of care—reasonableness

In order to determine whether a duty of care has been broken, the law adopts the artificial objective standard of the ‘reasonable person’, which involves ignoring the realities of the defendant's situation in so far as their capacities differ from that standard (Glasgow Corpn, per Lord Macmillan).

Breach of duty of care—objectivity

The objective requirement of a reasonable level of competence applies to skills, which can only be acquired by training and effort, as well as to basic attributes, which most people can be expected to possess.

Thus, learner-drivers of motor cars owe the same duty to drive with the degree of skill and care to be expected of a competent and experienced driver (Nettleship).

Where a professional person is involved, the standard of care will be related to the expertise professed by the defendant. A specialist will therefore be judged by the standard reasonably to be expected of specialists in that branch of the profession in question (Matrix-Securities), and general practitioners by the standard of the reasonably competent general

Related documents:

Popular documents