Tort law cases often make the news headlines. The purpose of the web links provided here is to fill you in on some of the background to the cases and, occasionally, statutes that you are studying. They include a mixture of video and audio clips, newspaper reports, blog posts, Government reports, case reports and so on. We've also taken the opportunity to include 'updates' where the law has changed or developed since the publication of the book.

In our experience it is often easier to remember the facts or decision of a particular case when you know a bit more about its background - when you can, for example, visualise the parties involved, or picture the accident or event that lead to the claim. We also believe that awareness of the context of a particular case or the passage of a statute can often help students understand – and begin to question – why the decision was reached, or why the introduction of legislation was felt necessary. Our view is that it is important that you experience – and engage with – tort law as a dynamic and fluid process, as a body of progressive rather than static, ahistorical rules. We hope that the links provided here (as well as other things you may link to from them) will help you do this and that they will give you a sense of historical perspective and an insight into the role of the context and history in the development of legal doctrine.

We've done our best to ensure that the links are as extensive as possible but the links are (obviously) not exhaustive. We urge you to make keep an eye on developments both in tort and other areas of law by reading good legal blogs as well as the law pages of quality newspapers online.

Of course, we also know that on occasions (particularly when a deadline is pressing) these sort of additional materials (as well as the others included on our online resources) can prove to be a bit of a distraction. These links are intended to supplement your studies. They are not an alternative to the harder work of reading the text book, academic commentary, and cases. In fact, there is no excuse for not reading the cases. Within these web links we've provided deep links on BAILLI to a selection of key cases from each chapter, and we encourage you to put your background reading, watching, and surfing to good use by reading these in full so that you gain a deeper understanding of the issues they raise.

A short video explaining the structure and main elements of "Causation", "Remoteness" and "Damage" in Negligence (as of May 2014 - by Shaveen Bandaranayake):

Tort Law - Negligence - Causation, Remoteness & Damage -

A funny video that illustrates how hard it can be to understand the intricacies of the law of factual causation:
‘Hitler reacts to tort law – negligence causation’

Gregg v Scott and Loss of a Chance

Allan Beever, University of Queensland Law Journal [2005] UQLJ 10
In this article, Allan Beever argues that the House of Lords reached the right decision in Gregg v Scott [2005] but not necessarily for the right reasons. The article is also valuable as it examines in detail two of the main opinions of the law lords: Lord Hoffmann (in the majority) and Lord Nicholls (dissenting).

Causation and failure to warn of risks

Less v Hussain [2012] EWHC 3513
An interesting case in which a couple claimed for various heads of damage in respect of the conception of a child who was subsequently delivered still-born. Negligent advice had been given by the consultant in respect of the risks of pregnancy. The parents’ claim failed because the judge found that the couple would have attempted pregnancy even if they had received proper advice.

See also the recent decision in Khan v Meadows [2021] UKSC 21 (available at

Other causation issues in a clinical setting

There have been a large number of cases where the court has considered the issue of causation in great detail (particularly since the case of Bailey v Ministry of Defence (2009) which appeared to extend asbestos case principles into the medical context). The recent case of ST (A protected party by his Mother and Litigation Friend KT) v Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust is no exception:

Material contribution – case update: ST v Maidstone (2015)

Also see:

John v Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2016]
WLR Daily:

‘Material contribution in medical claims: Williams v The Bermuda Hospitals Board

Future loss of earnings (Ogden vs Smith v Manchester approach), loss of congenial employment, material contribution test: A review of the decision in Kennedy v London Ambulance Service NHS Trust [2016] EWHC 3145 (QB)

Asbestos claims

1. Pleural Plaques

For decades prior to 2006, sufferers of Pleural Plaques could expect to receive damages payments for this condition of up to £15,000. Only in 2006, did defendant insurers challenge the right to recover damages for this condition, alleging that Pleural Plaques was not a condition which resulted in any injury to a sufferer. In the case of Grieves & Others v FT Everard & Sons & Others [2005] EWHC 88 at first instance, Mr Justice Holland held that Pleural Plaques was a compensatable condition, because the anxiety most sufferers have as a result of having the condition, when combined with the possibility of future injury, amounted to an injury. However, he reduced the award of general damages for pain and suffering to £6-7,000. The Court of Appeal disagreed, overturning the lower court decision. The case went to the House of Lords, where it was upheld that there is no actionable injury on the basis that Pleural Plaques do not cause respiratory injury and are analogous to a mole on the surface of the skin. See:

Compensation right ended for asbestos condition workers

Following the House of Lords decision, campaign groups continued to lobby Government on the issue of Pleural Plaques. In response, a public consultation was established in England and Wales, but the Scottish government took more immediate action and passed legislation – The Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Bill 2009 in which it is stated that ‘asbestos-related pleural plaques are a personal injury which is not negligible’ (S1(1)) and that ‘accordingly, they constitute actionable harm for the purposes of an action of damages for personal injuries (S1(2)).

Scottish pleural plaques victims compensated

This later survived a legal challenge

However, no action was forthcoming from Jack Straw, the then Justice Minister, despite assurances from him and the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, that an announcement was ‘imminent’. See:

Government is stalling on compensating asbestos victims

But, on 25 February 2010 Jack Straw made a ministerial statement to the House of Commons on pleural plaques, in which he stated that following a public consultation process the government was ‘unable to conclude that the Law Lords' decision should be overturned at this time or that an open-ended no-fault compensation scheme should be set up’. The text of this can be found here (scroll down).

Bill Butler MSP questions insurance lawyers appearing at the Scottish Parliament giving testimony on the Damages (Scotland) Bill; the lawyers argue that asbestos-related pleural plaques are a 'good thing'.
There are many other videos on YouTube on the testimonies given to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee on the Damages (Scotland) Bill relating to asbestos claims.

2. Other asbestos-related claims

A newspaper article on Sienkiewicz v Greif (UK) Ltd

And a BBC News story – including an interview with Mrs Costello's daughter

And case comment on the UKSC blog: Sienkiewicz v Greif (UK) Ltd; Knowsley MBC v Willmore [2011] UKSC 10

And many comments from law firms have been (self) published on the case. See for example

Sienkiewicz: another decision about the UK’s “special” mesothelioma jurisprudence

In Zurich Insurance PLC UK Branch v International Energy Group Limited, the Supreme Court again considered causation in asbestos-related mesothelioma claims. The appeal was from Guernsey, to which s.3 of the Compensation Act 2006 does not apply. The relevant employer was not insured for the whole period of exposure. The Court held that Barker v Corus continues to apply in Guernsey. Compensation is proportionate, therefore, though defence costs are not.

Claimants aren’t always successful, even in asbestos claims:

In Williams v University of Birmingham [2011] EWCA Civ 1242 the Court of Appeal was confronted with a mesothelioma case, this time arising from the experiments of the deceased, a physics student, conducted in what appears to have been a subterranean tunnel at the University of Birmingham (containing asbestos). The University successfully appealed the first instance finding of liability in negligence, on the basis (among other things) that the trial judge had confused the tests for breach of duty and causation (Aikens LJ helpfully summarises the leading cases). 

The asbestos cases are familiar to anyone who has studied causation in tort law (see section in textbook). But similar issues may also arise elsewhere; see, for example BBC News Phurnacite plant, Abercwmboi: Workers' High Court win from 23 October 2012.

Typing 'asbestos negligence' into Google produces such a wealth of sources for asbestos disease-related compensation that it is highly illustrative of the scale of the problem:

A BBC news report on the upholding of Scottish law which allows victims of an asbestos-related illness the right to claim damages – includes interview with sufferer of pleural plaques (April 2011)

The House of Lords published a briefing on the Mesothelioma (Amendment) Bill 2015

The egg-shell skull rule

‘What happens to claimants who suffer from a pre-existing weakness? The “egg shell skull” rule and challenges ahead’ (re Reaney v University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust [2014] EWHC 3016) 


Overseas Tankship (UK) v Morts Dock and Engineering Co (The Wagon Mound) No 1 [1961]

Baker v Willoughby [1970]

Jobling v Associated Dairies Ltd [1982]

Knightley v Johns [1982]

Hotson v East Berkshire Health Authority [1987]

Wilsher v Essex Area Health Authority [1988]

Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services [2002]

Chester v Afshar [2005]

Gregg v Scott [2005]

Grieves & Ors v FT Everard & Sons & British Uralite Plc & Ors [2005]

Barker v Corus UK Ltd [2006]

Sienkiewicz v Greif (UK) Ltd [2011]

John v Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2016]

Williams v The Bermuda Hospitals Board (Bermuda) [2016]