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Unformatted text preview: Negligence Breach of Duty Was reasonable care taken to avoid reasonably foreseeable harm? • Objective test of “ reasonable man in the circumstances ” • Lord Denning in Roe v Minister of Health : “Is this consequence fairly to be regarded as within the risk created by the negligence? If so, the negligent person is liable for it: but otherwise not” The Objective Standard Govt of Malaysia v Jumal bin Mahmud  2 MLJ 103, FC Malaysia (Child had his eye poked out by a pencil in school) Held: D govt was not liable for negligence, because teacher had taken reasonable care in the circumstances. No reasonable foresight of harm by letting child wonder around the class, no history of violence Glasgow Corporation v Muir  AC 448 (Picnic party wanted to have tea in the tea rooms, manageress allowed them to carry a large urn of tea there, but someone dropped it, scalding a number of children) Held: Standard of foresight of a reasonable man eliminates the personal equation. Carrying an urn of tea not in itself an inherently dangerous thing. Manageress had “no reason to anticipate” that such an event would occur from allowing a tea urn to be carried. No negligence. Blyth v Birmingham Waterworks (1856) 11 Ex 781 (D laid a water main with a ‘fire plug’. When released, water would be allowed to flow to street level. But, after a severe frost, plug was dislodged and water escaped into claimant’s house) Held: “Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided upon those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do.” In the circumstances, a reasonable man would not have foreseen the severe frost. D not liable. Proof of Breach Whether there had been a breach of duty is a question of fact and not law. Each case has to be determined on the facts at hand and is not bound by precedent. Qualcast (Wolverhampton) Ltd v Haynes  AC 743, HL (P experienced moulder had molten metal splashed on his foot. He was not wearing protective equipment even though he knew it was available. Trial judge held that he was bound by precedent to find for P, despite feeling that there was no negligence on D’s part) Held: Determination of standard of care a question of fact . Not bound by precedent, depends on the present factual circumstances. D not liable. Res Ipsa Loquitur ‘the thing speaks for itself’- a submission that the facts establish a prima facie case of negligence against D ( Roe v Minister of Health ) Maxim applies when - D is responsible or in control of the thing that caused damage- All the facts as to the cause of the accident are unknown Effect of maxim: (1) ‘no more than an exotic, although convenient, phrase to describe what is in essence no more than a common-sense approach…to the assessment of the effects of evidence’ per Megaw LJ in Lloyde v West Midlands Gas Board (2) Reverses the burden of proof, requiring D to show that the damage was not caused by failure to take...
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This note was uploaded on 02/07/2012 for the course LGST 101 taught by Professor Hsu during the Spring '11 term at Singapore Management.
- Spring '11