Relevant things whether or not and why responsibility

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relevant things) whether or not and why responsibility for the harm should be imposed on the negligent party. [court will probably use the following tests] o The Oropesa [1943]: Chain of causation not broken: Shipping case: 2 ships collided at sea because the captain of the Oropesa. The captain of the other ship wanted to take his crew over to the Oropesa because his ship was sinking wanted to discuss what to do, ordered his crew into the lifeboats. Unfortunately as they were going across, the lifeboat capsized, causing the p’s son to drown. P’s ship, d’s neg causes boat to start sinking. Crew getting into life boat (captains order). Not negligent what the captain did, but did it break chain of causation? Break the chain between d’s neg and p’s death? Court held : No, not a break in the chain of causation. It is not a Novus. Reason we study this case is because of the reasoning, what the judge said: ‘To break the chain of causation, the subsequent event (the later event) must be extraneous unwarrantable or extrinsic. o Adelaide chemical and fertilizer company (1940) [not in reading guide] : P’s husband was at work, while he was there he had chemicals spilt all over him due to the boss’ negligence. Boss told him to go to the hospital, he didn’t, instead he went home and wife cleaned the chemicals off him. Didn’t cause burns but caused the death. Responsible for the death? Died from an infection he got from his wounds. Court held: not a Novus (not a new cause). The traumatic injury exposed the man to this danger and death was a possible consequence of it, of infection. What does break the chain? o Haber v Walker [1963]: P’s husband was in a serious car accident because of d’s neg. he suffered horrific injuries and because of the injuries he developed severe depression. Because of the depression and the severe pain he was in he committed suicide. Widowed sued d. d argued: pay up for horrific injuries but not for the death because it was a human voluntary act. The p’s plan to commit suicide was a Novus, breaking the chain of causation. Court held : it was not a Novus. D caused the death, because in this case it was not a voluntary human act because of his mental state. Extremely unusual case because in most cases suicide is considered a Novus. o Smith J’s suggested formula (NB- it is not precise) – Act/omission is a cause of harm unless there is an occurrence necessary for the production of the harm which is sufficient in law to sever the causal connection which intervenes b/w the act/omission and the harm. o Intervening occurrence, to sever connection, must ordinarily be either a: 1. Human action that is properly regarded as voluntary (VOLUNTARY HUMAN ACT); OR 2. Causally independent event the conjunction of which with the wrongful act/omission is by ordinary standards so extremely unlikely as to be regarded as a coincidence (COINCIDENCE).
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