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S 514 fpr the purposes of dealing with the scope of

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S 51(4) Fpr the purposes of dealing with the scope of liability the court is to consider (inter alia) whether r not and why responsibility should (or should not be) imposed on the negligent party. NOVUS ACTUS INTERVENIENS o A NAI breaks the chain of causation o Where the causal link was severed by unforeseeable tortious conduct of an unforeseeable set of independent events or conditions which amount to a ‘sufficient cause’. o Was the event the very thing likely to happen as a result of the defendants negligent act on a common sense approach? (March v Stramare)
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IF it was the very thing likely to happen on a common sense approach, no NAI exists. IF it was not the very thing likely to happen, the chain will be broken by an NAI. March v Stramare: A car ploughing into the back of the parked truck was the very thing likely to happen, and the fact that the car’s driver was intoxicated was not sufficient to constitute a NAI. Argued P’s drinking broke chain of causation. Majority held just because that was a voluntary human action does not mean breaks chain. Mason states voluntary action wont break chain if P owed duty of care to protect from such action. (Point of doc here was to protect careless drivers. If his careless driving was an intervening act, then completely undermined duty of care principle.) At common law, in order to determine whether the chain has been broken something more is needed. The Oropesa: a mere intervening act does not automatically break the chain, there must be something unwarrantable or extraneous. ( The Oropesa- ship negligently collided with another ship in the middle of the ocean, captain was concerned that the boat was sinking, so set off in a lifeboat with 17 others to the other ship. The lifeboat capsized, and 9 people died. P sued for negligence of crashing captain; held that the chain was not broken- a mere intervening act does not automatically break the chain, there must be something unwarrantable or extraneous ). The prevailing approach (from Haber v Walker- p’s husband was horrifically injured in an accident, became depressed and killed himself. P sued the driver of the other car, claiming he had caused the husband’s death. D argued that suicide was an intervening act; held that the suicide was not voluntary- see below ) is that an intervening act will break the chain of causation if it is either: o VOLUNTARY HUMAN ACTION o Human action will be voluntary when it is free, deliberate, and informal (Bennett v Minister of Community Welfare) o Mental ability irrelevant: However in Adamson v Motor Vehicle Insurance Trust the court suggested that insanity does not vary the reasonable
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person test. (In this case the D believing that his workmates were about to kill him, stole a car and hit the P and a cyclist. The issue was whether the insanity excused him from negligence.
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