Causation and Liability in Tort Law

Classified in Philosophy and ethics

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Causation is focused on D's carelessness caused the C's injury.

2 tiers of causation: Factual, Legal

Factual: link between def breach & c's loss is known as the 'but for' test. - But for the C has suffered injury/ loss.

'But for' Case

* Cork v Kirby MaClean

Denning LJ: If you can say the damage would not happen for particular fault, then the fault is caused by damage. But if you say the damage would happen the same, fault or not, the fault is not a cause of damage.

Multiple Tort

*Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeras Service

C suffered mesothelioma which caused negligently exposure to asbestos by employers. Due to insufficient evidence, C unable to show which employer satisfied causation. Lord Bigham held that McGhee test would apply when 6 conditions:

  1. C was employed at diff times & diff periods by A&B
  2. A&B take reasonable care to prevent C inhale asbestos that might cause mesothelioma
  3. A&B breach duty relation to C during C's employment, C inhaled too much of asbestos
  4. C is found to be suffering from mesothelioma.
  5. Any cause of C's mesothelioma other than inhaling can be effectively discounted
  6. C cannot prove the BOP

Succesive causes:

Baker v Willoughby

- C walked middle of the road & D ran into C and injured his leg. After that, C's leg has been shot. HOL said it was irrelevant dmg that the D had to pay. Lord Reid said the causes of Plaintiff disability & both tortfeasors should have pay for the suffering they caused.

Careless Conduct

Knightley v Johns: Accident occurred in one-way tunnel. The police constable failed to send off the entrance & instructed another officer to enter the tunnel from the exit. The officer drove his motor & collided with the claimant's vehicle in the tunnel. The C brought an action against the driver for the accident but the D was found not liable as the police broke the chain of causation.

Acts of Nature

Carslogic Steamship Co Ltd v Royal Norwegian Gov: Ship temporarily needed to repair & the ship sustained storm damage which needed extra repairs. It has been agreed that 10 days to repair & 13 days weather damage. The HOL held that the storm broke the claim of causation. Did not liable for any loss.

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