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DEFENCES TO NEGLIGENCE B. ILLEGALITY (EX TURPI CAUSA) Check list: Illegality can be used at the duty stage as a policy consideration to negative duty Can be used at breach stage to lower standard of care or render it unascertainable Pitts v. Hunt Can be pleaded along with other defences Immorality v. Illegality Almost all the cases in which a plea of illegality succeeds involve a serious criminal act committed by P, but in principle the defence can also apply to acts which, although not illegal, are nevertheless morally reprehensible. HEGARTY V SHINE Note: This case was decided in a time where people were more conservative and society frowned on extra-marital affairs. Therefore extra-marital sex was considered so morally reprehensible that it precluded P’s claim. However, in modern times, societal values have been more accepting and arguably deteriorated. There perhaps such a defence would not work because extra-marital affairs would not be SO IMMORAL as to preclude a claim. The Motor Vehicles (Third Party Risks and Compensation) Act which excludes the defence of consent in relation to claims by motor vehicle passengers (which will also be discussed later) does not also preclude the defence of illegality in car accident cases. Pitts v. Hunt Where P’s wrong is minor and unconnected with D’s tort, it is unlikely to defeat P’s claim. SAUNDERS V EDWARDS Where a response is so disproportionate, it is likely that illegality might not defeat the claim but the defence of contributory negligence might apply. REVIL V NEWBERY An illegal act committed by an insane person might not break the chain of causation nor be a good way to invoke the defence of illegality. [Dicta] CLUNIS V CAMDEN & ISLINGTON HA 1
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A criminal act committed by a sane P might not be defeated by his illegality as if D had a duty, established by foreseeability, to prevent P’s act. However, contributory negligence up to 50% will probably apply. REEVES V COMMISSIONER OF POLICE OF THE METROPOLIS No duty of care is owed to prevent suicidal acts by a person who is not known to be a suicide risk ORANGE V CHIEF CONSTABLE OF WEST YORKSHIRE POLICE Suicide is still crime in SG; illegality applies only to joint criminal enterprises Attempted suicide is still a crime in Singapore unlike in the UK, so even if a person were known to be at risk of committing suicide here, a claim in connection with his self- inflicted death might be more likely to fail by reason of his illegality. On the other hand,
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