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Negligence - 1998

General law of negligence. See also Professional Negligence, Damages, Torts (General)

These cases are extracted from a very large database. The entries on that database are now being published individually to the main swarb.co.uk website in a much improved form. As cases are published here, the entry here will be replaced by a link to the same case in that improved form on swarb.co.uk. In addition the swarb.co.uk site includes very substantial numbers of cases after 2000. Please take the time to look.  

This page lists 39 cases, and was prepared on 21 October 2013. These case are being transferred one by one to the main swarb.co.uk site which presents them better, with links to full text where we have it, and much improved cross referencing.
Jolley -v- Sutton London Borough Council; QBD 1998
Dingley -v- The Chief Constable, Strathclyde Police 1998 SC 548
1998

Lord President (Lord Rodger of Earlsferry), Lord Prosser
Scotland, Negligence
1 Cites

The court was asked whether the development of multiple sclerosis had been caused by physical injury sustained in a motor accident. Medical science was not able to demonstrate the connection between the two, and reliance was placed on epidemiological evidence. Held: The court referred to the case of Davie as affording: "[a]uthoritative guidance on the approach which a court should take to expert evidence" and "Perhaps the essential point is that parties who come to court are entitled to the decision of a judicial tribunal. Such a decision may take account of many rather intangible things such as the demeanour of witnesses and the way that they gave their evidence, but, whatever its components may be, such a decision must be reasoned. As Lord Cooper says, an oracular pronouncement will not do." The Lord Ordinary required to test the experts' evidence and, having done so, to use those parts which he accepted and apply them to the facts of the case. If he did not do so it must be inferred that he misdirected himself.
Lord Prosser said: "I would wish to make two other general observations, before turning to the issues between the parties. First, there was a certain amount of evidence to the effect that certain views on causation were very widely held, or were no longer widely held. If a particular process of reasoning is widely accepted, then that I think may be persuasive for a court. But the fact that a particular view is widely held, without any persuasive explanation as to why it should be so held, and constitute a conclusion, does not appear to me to be a matter to which a court should give significant weight. Rather similarly, the fact that a particular view was or is held by someone of great distinction, whether he is a witness or not, does not seem to me to give any particular weight to his view, if the reasons for his coming to that view are unexplained, or unconvincing. As with judicial or other opinions, what carries weight is the reasoning, not the conclusion." and
""In ordinary (non-lawyers') language, to say that one regards something as 'probable' is by no means to say that one regards it as 'established' or 'proved'. Yet in the civil courts, where we say that a pursuer must prove his case on a balance of probabilities, what is held to be probable is treated as 'proved'. I do not suggest that any lawyer will be confused by this rather special meaning of the word 'proved'. But speaking very generally, I think that the civil requirement of a pursuer that he satisfy the court that upon the evidence his case is probably sound would in ordinary language be regarded as very different from, and less stringent than, a requirement that his case be established or proved. More importantly in the context of such a case as the present, the fact that the two concepts are distinct in ordinary language, but the same in this legal context, seems to me to give rise to a risk of ambiguity or misunderstanding in the expressed opinions of expert witnesses. And this risk will be increased if the expert in question would normally, in the exercise of his profession, adopt an approach to such issues starkly different from that incumbent upon a court. Whether one uses the word 'scientific' or not, no hypothesis or proposition would be seen as 'proved' or 'established' by anyone with any form of medical expertise merely upon the basis that he had come to regard it as probably sound. (Indeed, I think even the word 'probable' would be reserved for situations where the likelihood is thought to be much more than marginal). And even if, in relation to any possible proposition or hypothesis, such an expert even troubled to notice that he had come to the point of regarding it as not merely possible but on balance 'probable', then I think he would regard that point as one from which he must set off on further inquiry, and by no means as being (as it is in the courts) a point of arrival. Mere marginal probability will not much interest him. But it must satisfy a court.""
Lord Prosser discussed the method of proof: "I am not much impressed by one argument advanced for the defender to the effect that the pursuer's argument is essentially 'post hoc, ergo propter hoc', and therefore unsound. Plainly, one will more readily conclude that B is caused by A, or probably caused by A, if one can identify, or at least envisage, some kind of mechanism whereby B might be caused by A. Equally, if one simply cannot identify or envisage such a mechanism, the mere fact that on one occasion B happened after A (and perhaps very quickly after A) would not, in the absence of other indications, lead one easily to conclude that B was caused by A. But no one, certainly in this case, suggests that such a single coincidence is to be interpreted as involving a causal relationship. And once one moves from single coincidence to a number of occasions when B follows (perhaps quickly) upon A, dismissiveness of 'post hoc, ergo propter hoc' reasoning seems to me to become less and less appropriate. Indeed, unless and until one can identify or envisage a connecting mechanism, countless conclusions as to causal relationship are reached precisely upon a form of 'post hoc, ergo propter hoc' reasoning: if B is observed never to occur except shortly after A, the conclusion may be relatively easy but if B is observed to occur frequently after A, then even if each sometimes occurs without the other, the frequency with which B occurs after A may nonetheless well justify a more or less firm conclusion that A, in certain circumstances, causes B. I do not regard such conclusions as based on false (or indeed simple) logic. The approach is in my opinion inherent not only in conclusions drawn from one's general experience or 'anecdotal evidence'. It is inherent also in much experimental research, and also, as it seems to me, in epidemiology. And while it may always seem somewhat insufficient, until one can find an identifiable possible mechanism, as a basis for claiming that the causal link is proved or established, in either ordinary or scientific terms, that feeling of insufficiency strikes me as much less appropriate if one stops short of such claims and contents oneself with saying that the causal relationship is marginally probable (or is proved or established only as required in civil litigation)."
Polat Marson -v- St Giles Hotel Limited [1998] EWCA Civ 26
15 Jan 1998
CA
Road Traffic, Negligence
Link[s] omitted
Darren Jason Hammond Tina Andrea Smith -v- Victor Gill Ronald Sydney Page [1998] EWCA Civ 29
16 Jan 1998
CA
Road Traffic, Personal Injury, Negligence
[ Bailii ]
Carroll and Others -v- Fearon and Others and Related Actions
26 Jan 1998
CA
Negligence
Claim of negligence against manufacturer where clear failure of product shown need not attempt to identify individual in company responsible.
Ann Fleet -v- Wrexham Maelor Hospital NHS Trust [1998] EWCA Civ 256
17 Feb 1998
CA
Negligence, Personal Injury
The plaintiff appealed refusal of her claim for damages having slipped in the snow at work in the grounds of the hospital. Held: The appeal was dismissed. "It is an inescapable fact of life that in this country sudden snow falls will, from time to time, make walking hazardous. It is undoubtedly the duty of the hospital to have a snow clearance plan or policy to combat those dangers for persons walking in its grounds, so far as is reasonably practicable, but no amount of policy or planning will guarantee freedom from hazard after the sudden fall of a blanket of snow, especially if the snow is continuing to fall. "
[ Bailii ]
Highton -v- Norweb Plc [1998] EWCA Civ 375
2 Mar 1998
CA
Negligence, Contract
Link[s] omitted
Janet Gladys Bateman -v- David Goodman [1998] EWCA Civ 412
6 Mar 1998
CA
Road Traffic, Personal Injury, Negligence
Link[s] omitted
Ursula Riniker -v- J Glynn (Skips) Ltd [1998] EWCA Civ 462
13 Mar 1998
CA
Negligence
[ Bailii ]
Barry Rowe -v- Brian Whitehead and David William Jennings (T/a Djr Pallet Services) [1998] EWCA Civ 513
23 Mar 1998
CA
Negligence
Link[s] omitted
Christopher Simon Blantern -v- William Birch & Sons Limited Tucker and Tunstalls Limited [1998] EWCA Civ 575
31 Mar 1998
CA
Negligence, Personal Injury
Link[s] omitted
John Gary Britland -v- East Midland Motor Services Ltd [1998] EWCA Civ 590
1 Apr 1998
CA
Negligence, Road Traffic, Personal Injury
Link[s] omitted
Marvin John Pearson -v- Anthony Lightning [1998] EWCA Civ 591
1 Apr 1998
CA
Lord Justice Simon Brown, Lord Justice Otton, Sir Christopher Slade
Personal Injury, Negligence Casemap
1 Cites
The parties were golfers playing different holes at the same time. The shot of one hit the other in the eye. The shot was a recovery shot over where he should have known others would be playing. Where a golfer hit a shot which was difficult but carried a clear if small risk of injury to someone else on the course, then he was liable in negligence for a resulting injury. The outcome of any case concerning golf course injuries must depend on its particular facts.
Link[s] omitted
W 1-6 -v- Essex County Council and Another [1998] 3 WLR 534; [1998] EWCA Civ 614; [1998] 3 All ER 111
2 Apr 1998
CA
Negligence, Local Government, Employment Casemap


A Local Authority had a duty of care to a fostering family when allocating children. A child was known to have a history of sexual abuse and was fostered with a family with other children, and no warning had been given.
Foster parents sued the council for breach of contract and for alleged negligence for breach of duty of care. Held: There was no contractual relationship between the foster parents and the local authority. "although the Specialist Foster Carer Agreement had a number of features which one would expect to find in a contract, such as the payment of an allowance and expenses, provisions as to National Insurance, termination and restriction on receiving a legacy or engaging in other gainful employment and other matters to which the judge referred... I do not accept that this makes the agreement a contract in the circumstances of this case. A contract is essentially an agreement that is freely entered into on terms that are freely negotiated. If there is a statutory obligation to enter into a form of agreement the terms of which are laid down, at any rate in their most important respects, there is no contract"
Race Relations Act 1976
[ Bailii ]
Harris -v- Evans and Health and Safety Executive; CA 24-Apr-1998
Williams and Another -v- Natural Life Health Foods Ltd and Another; HL 30-Apr-1998
Audrey Burslem -v- Mcphails Coaches [1998] EWCA Civ 801
8 May 1998
CA
Negligence
Link[s] omitted
Bale -v- Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Health Authority; CA 08-May-1998
Nobes, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police -v- Schofield; CA 14-May-1998
Hussain and Another -v- Lancaster City Council; CA 14-May-1998
Peter Cuthbert -v- Geeta Bannister [1998] EWCA Civ 848
18 May 1998
CA
Road Traffic, Negligence
Link[s] omitted
Perrett -v- Collins, Underwood PFA (Ulair) Limited (T/a Popular Flying Association); CA 22-May-1998
Regina -v- London Borough of Sutton, ex parte Jolley; CA 19-Jun-1998
Culwick -v- Devon County Council [1998] EWCA Civ 1103
29 Jun 1998
CA
Personal Injury, Negligence
[ Bailii ]
Domicrest Ltd -v- Swiss Bank Corporation [1999] QB 548; [1998] EWHC 2001 (QB)
7 Jul 1998
QBD
Jurisdiction, Negligence Casemap
1 Citers
An English claimant sued a Swiss bank for a negligent mis-statement made in a telephone call between England and Switzerland. The Swiss banker represented that the transmission of a copy payment order by the bank to the claimant was a guarantee that payment would be made for the amount referred. The claimant relied on the representations to release goods in Switzerland and Italy on receipt of the copy payment order from the bank rather than waiting until it had been paid. The bank refused to pay on three copy payments orders in respect of goods which had been released from store in Switzerland and Italy. Held: The place of the damage was in Switzerland and Italy, where the goods were released without payment, rather than England, where the Swiss purchaser would have paid the price. The reasons for that finding were (a) that it was by reference to the loss of the goods that the damages were pleaded; and (b) that the essence of the complaint was that the goods were released prior to payment. Where negligent misstatement is alleged, the law governing the action is that of the country where the statement was made. The tortious act occurs when the statement is made not when and where the statement is relied upon.
Lugano Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters 1988
Link[s] omitted
Haddow -v- Tendring District Council and Richard C S Colley [1998] EWCA Civ 1183
9 Jul 1998
CA
Negligence
[ Bailii ]
Kenneth Swann and Susan Mary Swann -v- Mervyn Thomas Seal [1998] EWCA Civ 1217
15 Jul 1998
CA
Negligence
[ Bailii ]
Owners of the Ship Herceg Novi -v- Owners of the Ship Ming Galaxy [1998] EWCA (Civ) 1223
16 Jul 1998
CA
Transport, Negligence, Jurisdiction
A claim for daages was made after ships collided, and one sank. Held: The judge had been wrong not to stay an action here where the proper jurisdiction was Singapore. That higher damages might be available under a different convention applying here did not mean that a party should be deprived of justice in Singapore. There is no one dominant international standard.
[ Bailii ]
Ahmed -v- Chief Constable of West Midlands Police; CA 28-Jul-1998
Darby -v- Warwickshire Constabulary and Another [1998] EWCA Civ 1340
30 Jul 1998
CA
Beldam, Buxton LJJ
Police, Negligence
Link[s] omitted
Gates -v- Mckenna [1998] EWHC 2006 (QB); (1999) 46 BMLR 9; [1998] Lloyd's Rep Med 405
14 Aug 1998
QBD
Toulson J
Personal Injury, Negligence

The plaintiff suffered schizophrenia after taking part in an on-stage hypnosis performance by the defendant. Held. The claim failed: "it is highly improbable that the onset of the plaintiff's schizophrenia had anything to do with his participation in the hypnotism show in which he took part. The only conceivable way in which there could be a causative link would be by classifying the experience as a life event and postulating that the stress which it generated was responsible for triggering the disease."
Hypnotism Act 1952
[ Bailii ]
Griffiths -v- Brown; Griffiths -v- Lindsay
23 Oct 1998
QBD
Negligence
A taxi driver's duty extended to setting his passenger down by the kerb. His duty did not extend so as to make him responsible to a drunken passenger who failed then to cross the road safely.
Marion Clark -v- A Fiegel & Paul Stapley T/a Corporation Balloon Company; Paul Stapley; Payne Marsh and Stillwell (a Firm) and John Aspinal Qc [1998] EWCA Civ 1629
28 Oct 1998
CA
Negligence
Link[s] omitted
Osman -v- The United Kingdom; ECHR 28-Oct-1998
Hossain -v- Thompson [1998] EWCA Civ 1719
6 Nov 1998
CA
Road Traffic, Negligence
Application for leave to appeal.
[ Bailii ]
O'Connell -v- Plymouth City Council (1) [1998] EWCA Civ 1723
6 Nov 1998
CA
Negligence
Link[s] omitted
Watson -v- Gray and Another
26 Nov 1998
QBD
Hooper J
Personal Injury, Negligence
1 Citers
A professional footballer is at risk of being proved negligent, if he is shown to caused injury with an act which a reasonable professional player would know to carry a significant risk of causing serious injury. A late, forceful and high challenge was such.
Chief Constable of Northumbria -v- Costello; CA 03-Dec-1998
Kent -v- Dr Griffiths, Dr Roberts, London Ambulance Service [1998] EWCA Civ 1941
11 Dec 1998
CA
Negligence, Health Professions
1 Cites

Though there is no duty at large to help someone in need of urgent assistance, an ambulance service, by accepting a 999 call, may have accepted a duty to the caller. It remained open to argue as to whether it was fair just and reasonable to impose duty.
[ Bailii ]

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