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Flashcards in Public Authority Liability Deck (16):

Dorset Yacht v Home Office

Common law duty was owed on Caparo principles to the owner of the yacht and the duty was not qualified by the statutory powers. If the damage had been the result of policy to grant borstal boys greater freedom, it would not be actionable. Courts shouldn't assess policy.


Thornton v Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council

Where statute imposes a duty on a public authority or anyone else for the benefit of a specified category of persons, but prescribes no special remedy or breach, existing common law remedies would be sufficient redress.


Phillips v Britannia Hygienic Laundry

Should not admit an action for breach of statutory duty where the claimant's existing common law remedies would be sufficient redress.


East Suffolk v Kent

Flood repairs were carried out negligently and land was flooded, there was a statutory power for the public authority to carry out work on the claimant's land, held that there is no liability arising from failure to benefit through exercise of power.


Anns v Merton

Duties may arise in the exercise of powers, these arise at private law and are tort duties, but they are defined in terms of the statute that confers power.


Stovin v Wise

Junction had poor visibility, led to accident. Council weren't liable as it was an omission. For non performance, would need to show (1) non performance is irrational, (2) exceptional grounds for holding the policy of the statute requires compensation to be paid where the power is not exercised.


Hill v CCWY

Imposition of liability may be detrimental to any sense of public duty which motivated police forces in carrying out their function in the investigation and suppression of crime - Hill immunity.


Osman v UK

Hill immunity was incompatible with Article 6, restrictions on rights of actions must be proportionate to the negligence and of the injury to the claimant.


Z v UK

Osman involved misunderstanding of negligence law, Caparo test is intrinsic part of test for negligence, therefore there is no immunity operative in this case, policy question is a part of the substantive law.


Smith v Chief Constable of South Wales Police

Hill immunity still applied.


Michael v Chief Constable South Wales Police

Police do not owe a duty of care where; (1) they are aware or ought reasonably to be aware of a threat to life or safety of individual or specified group, or (2) a member of the public gives the police credible evidence that a third party presents a specific and imminent threat to his life or physical safety.


R v Dytham

Police officer not intervening in murder = misfeasance in public office.


X v Bedfordshire County Council

Three areas of liability; (1) breach of statutory duty, (2) an action for breach of a common law duty of care, and (3) misfeasance in public office. Careless exercise of a statutory power or duty didn't give rise to a cause of action in itself, must show that there was a duty of care in the circumstances. In this case duties existed and there were a class of people, including the claimants, intending to benefit however there would need to be clear statutory language to find a remedy if damages were available.


Gorringe v Calderdale

Road wasn't marked indicating to slow down, accident happened. Held that the council weren't liable, duty could not be extended to include one which went beyond the original common law duty to maintain the surface of the road. The statutory duty to maintain the road did not create additional duties in negligence.



Social services removed children from family homes negligently, were sued. Violations of Articles 8 and 13 were found. Restrictions on seeing the children were too restrictive and the domestic court's finding that there was no duty of care prevented an effective remedy.


Barret v Enfield

Adults can sue local authorities for negligence in their treatment as children