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Issue could the defendants owe a duty of care to a

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Issue: Could the Defendant’s owe a duty of care to a Plaintiff who had a heightened sensitivity? Or an abnormal? Can she recover from a breach of a duty which would not normally affect a normal plaintiff? And Does the fact that it is ‘abnormal’ create special duties to be careful? Held: It is only if a reasonable man ought to realize that what he is doing is likely to cause injury that he becomes subject to a duty to take the appropriate precautions. o Where the act is incapable of injuring an ordinary person the person who does it owes no duty to do more by reason by reason only of the possibility that a person of abnormally accentuated susceptibility may be affected by it. o Court held that people of abnormal susceptibility to certain conditions where not owed a special D.o.C. o The situation will be different if the D knows the plaintiff has a certain ailment. o Hay ley v London Electricity Board Abnormal condition DID give rise to a D.o.C Facts: Workers, in front of a trench in a footpath, erected signs to warn pedestrians of the danger. A blind man fell into the whole. Issue: Was there a duty of care owed to the blind man although the workers had taken reasonable steps and not been careless to injure normal people? Held: In deciding what is reasonably foreseeable one must have regard to common knowledge (in which it is common knowledge that blind people walk down the road with their sticks) * A measure of care is appropriate to the inability or disability is due from others who know of or ought to anticipate, the presence of such persons within the scope and hazards of their own operations. The tension between the two cases can be resolved in one of two ways: 1. The state of knowledge has been advanced. Little was known at the time about allergies, and today the case may be decided differently, but at the time issues to do with blindness where apparent. 2. The courts may be aware of diversity in society.
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PROXIMITY Jaensch v Coffey Proximity approach posited. Proximity is defined as a relationship of nearness of closeness. There are three categories of proximity and they are: • Physical – Time and Space • Circumstantial – Employer / employee • Causal – Coincidental Gala v Preston Proximity approach shown not to create a Duty where one clearly exists. Youths crashed a car. D was the insurer of the car. In this case proximity was made out but there was no D.o.C. This lead to the demise of the proximity approach and later, the adopting of the salient features approach used today Sullivan v Moody- ‘no single formula’ governing all categories/kinds of cases ie Deane J’s ‘proximity’ formula is unhelpful and not to be followed (ii) SALIENT FEATURES Forseeability of harm is necessary in negligence action but by itself is insufficient to give rise to a duty of care as it a broad and inclusive test Sullivan v Moody: (joint decision of 5 members HC): The appellants submit that is as reasonably foreseeable that they would suffer harm of the kind alleged in the consequence of negligence… this is not disputed. But forseeability of harm is not sufficient to give rise to a duty of care.
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