Psychiatric Harm.docx - Psychiatric Harm Negligently...

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Psychiatric Harm Negligently inflicted Psychiatric Harm Type of harm central to determination of liability in negligence Causation: was the psychiatric illness caused by the def’s negligence? Remoteness: is the def liable for this type of harm? Duty: in what circumstances ought a def who causes harm of this type be held responsible? Definition of psychiatric harm Mental Distress alone not actionable in negligence: o Lynch v Knight (1861) 9 HL Cas 577, ‘Mental pain or anxiety the law cannot value, and does not pretend to redress, when the unlawful act complained of causes that alone.’ o Reilly v Merseyside AHA (1995) 6 Med LR 246 o Johnston v NEI International Combustion Ltd (2007) UKHL 39 Mental distress consequent upon physical injury actionable Anxiety, stress or grief suffered as a result of harm to a loved one not usually compensated – exception a fixed sum award payable to spouses or parents of a deceased child under FAA 1976 Alcock and others v Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police (1991) 4 All ER 907 Lord Oliver: ‘grief, sorrow, deprivation and the necessity for caring for loved ones who have suffered injury or misfortune must, I think, be considered as ordinary and inevitable incidents of life which, regardless of individual susceptibilities, must be sustained without compensation.’ Recognise psychiatric illness Attia v British Gas (1988) QB 304: o ‘all relevant forms of mental illness, neurosis and personality change.’ Categorisation of Claimants Primary victims/participants o Page v Smith (1995) 2 All ER 736, HL Secondary victims/relational claimants o Alcock and others v Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police
First question is whether claimant is a primary or secondary victim? Need to be one or other Different rules apply Additional limitations if secondary victim If not primary victim can only stablish duty if fulfil additional requirements applicable to secondary victims Is the claimant a primary victim? Page v Smith (1995) 2 All ER 736 Participant, who has o Directly involved in the event, and o Within the range of foreseeable physical injury (Lord Lloyd) Form the judgement of Lord Oliver in Alcock, primary victims ‘those who are involved in an accident’; secondary victims those who are not involved but suffer from what they see or hear Who benefits from categorisation as Primary Victim? White and Others v CC of South Yorkshire Police and Others (1999) 1 All ER 1 Lord Hoffmann, if ‘within range of foreseeable physical injury’ Lord Steyn, primary victim if ‘objectively exposed himself to danger or reasonably believed that he was doing so’, applied in Cullin v London Fire and Civil Defence Authority, 31 March 1999, QBD If not in ‘zone of danger’ secondary victim Fagan v Goodman, 30 November 2001 AB and Others v Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust; Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust (2004) EWHC 644, (197) ‘in my judgement, these claims do not fit easily into any of the descriptions given to primary and secondary victims. Tempting as it is to regard the primary/secondary

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