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Flashcards in Breach of Statutory Duty Deck (16)
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X v Bedfordshire CC (strict liability)

“The cause of action depends neither on proof of any breach of C’s common law rights nor on an allegation of carelessness by D”


What is the general test for whether Parliament intended civil liability to flow from the breach of statutory duty?

Cutler v Wandsworth Stadium – “The only rule which in all the circumstances is valid is that the answer must depend on a consideration of the whole Act and the circumstances, including the pre-existing law, in which it was enacted.”

Lord Denning in ex p. Island Records Ltd – “the truth is that in many of these statutes the legislature has left the point open.”


Lornho Ltd v Shell Petroleum Co

The presumption is that a civil action is not available where the statute uses criminal sanctions as the means of enforcing the relevant duty


What are the two general categories of cases where a private law right of action for breach will be recognised?

1. Where the statutory obligation or prohibition was imposed for the benefit/protection of a limited class of the public (Phillips v Britannia Hygienic Laundry)
2. Where a statute creates a public right and a particular member of the public suffers particular, direct and substantial damage different from that common to the rest


X v Bedfordshire CC

If the statute protects a limited class but provides no remedy for its breach, this indicates that Parliament intended a civil action since “otherwise there is no method of securing the protection the statute was intended to confer”


Doe d Murray

“Where an Act creates an obligation, and enforces the performance in a specified manner, we take it to be a general rule that performance cannot be enforced in any other manner.”


Groves v Wimborne

If the statutory remedy would be grossly insufficient in proportion to the injury suffered by C, this MAY be grounds for finding that Parliament did not intend the statutory remedy to be exhaustive


O’Rourke v Camden LBC (contra-indicators of civil law liability)

The following factors indicate Parliament did not intend a statute to give rise to civil liability.
1. If the statute promotes general public interest as well as the private interests of the protected class using public expenditure. (such that the expenditure is not simply a private matter between C and D, but a public matter)
2. If the statute confers a great deal of discretion upon the power-holder, it is less likely that Parliament intended errors of judgment to give rise to civil law liability; control by public law remedies would be more appropriate.
3. If the duties imposed by the statute are accepted as enforceable only in public law.


5-stage test for breach of statutory duty.

1. Was the statute intended to protect a limited class?
2. Was C a member of the protected class?
3. Did D's conduct infringe the standard set by the statute?
4. Was the injury of a kind the Act was meant to prevent?
5. Did the breach cause the damage?


Hartley v Mayoh & Co

If C does not lie within the class of people protected by the statutory duty he cannot claim for its breach



The letter of the statute must be strictly adhered to in determining the standard set by the statute.


Gorris v Scott

The statute was intended to prevent the spread of disease among livestock and not to protect livestock from the perils of the sea; thus the damage was not of the kind the statute was intended to prevent.


Close v Steel Co

The object of the statute was to “keep the worker out, not keep the machine or its product in” and so the worker could only claim for damage suffered in the way foreseen by the statute



If D’s breach consisted of and is coextensive with C’s wrongful act, C’s wrongful act will be held to have consumed D’s breach


Imperial Chemical Industries v Shatwell

Suggests the defence is available where D is vicariously liable for his worker’s breach of statutory duty


Monk v Warbey

If a statute mandates a public authority to take out liability insurance this favors a finding that Parliament intended the statute to give rise to civil liability.