Chapter 2 Key facts checklists

Negligence: duty of care

●    Duty is the first element in the ‘negligence equation’ and the primary means of limiting liability in negligence (see Figure 2.1).

●    The first general principle for finding duty of care was the ‘neighbour principle’ of Donoghue v Stevenson (1932).

●    Currently the three criteria for determination of duty of care in novel situations are: foreseeability; proximity; and fairness, justice, and reasonableness. This is the ‘three-stage’ test set out in Caparo v Dickman (1990).

●    Duty of care has a strong policy component.

●    Duty must be established first in principle and then in respect of the particular claimant in question.

●    There are limited duties of care in respect of defendants who are public bodies; also in respect of omissions.

●    Duty of care may be problematic when the damage is pure economic loss or psychiatric injury.