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Liability In Negligence Problem case. Advise Greenwichshire Police whether they owe a duty of care in negligence to: a) Those injured at the rally b)PC Nick

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Liability In Negligence Advise Greenwichshire Police whether they owe a duty of care in negligence to: a) Those injured at the rally Winfield defines negligence as "the breach of the legal duty to take care which results in damage, on desired by the defendant to the plaintiff"1 therefore it is necessary to prove an existing duty of care, breach of that duty and causation of damage in order to find successful action in negligence. Negligence began to develop in the early 19th century when liability of careless acts was founded upon a "duty to take care". On a case by case basis duty was found to exist owing to the relationship between the parties. Attempts such as that in Haven V Pender [1883] to set out a more general concept of duty had failed until Donoghue V Stevenson [19322]. In the case of Donoghue V Stevenson [1932]3, Lord Atkin developed his famous "Neighbour principle". He stated " You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure you neighbour. Who then in law is my neighbour? The answer seems to be - persons closely directly affected by my act"4. In determining whether the Greenwichshire Police owe a duty of care to those injured at the rally, we must first find whether there is an existing duty of care. ...read more.


Given that the investigation and suppression of crime must be seen as the primary functions of the police force, and the one that could directly affect a great number of people, it seems strange to us how highly unlikely it is that liability could ever arise in relation to negligent acts or omissions in this area. The police are only held to owe a general duty to the society, or the "public at large", and so in a relation to this particular activity, a private law duty is not owed to individuals; seemingly no matter how closely connected that individual is the police's negligence (proximity) and how likely it is that the particular individual may be affected by it (foreseeability). b) P.C Nick It was earlier mentioned that there was an existing duty between those at the rally and the police, however now one must establish whether Greenwichshire police owe a duty to its officer P.C Nick. As a member of the police force, Greenwichshire police to owe a duty of care to their officers as any employer would. The facts demonstrate that P.C Nick suffered from psychiatric injury ('nightmares' and 'depression') from the events that took place at the rally. In order to satisfy for psychiatric injury, there must be proximate relationship between the incident and the plaintiff. ...read more.


In Alcock however it was held that viewing a body nine hours after the incident would not qualify as 'immediate aftermath'. How far the aftermath will extend is uncertain and so is left for the courts to decide. However, considering that 5 hours is fairly far from what is defined as 'immediate', it may be possible that a duty of care would not be owed to Dave. Dave does not have a geographical proximity to the events and considering that 5 hours is a long time and far from what be called 'immediate' it may be possible that a duty of care does not exist. Having a close relationship with the primary victim is not enough to suffice for an existing duty. Thus it may be concluded that Greenwichshire Police do not owe a duty of care to Dave. In conclusion, there are a number of policy reasons as to why negligence against the police may be limited. The police's general sense of public duty would not be reinforced by negligence liability, as this would lead to defensive policing. Additionally defending negligent actions would be demanding money, time and man power, thus diverting the police from their main function. It is mainly due to these reasons that the House of Lords rejected the claims in Alcock. ...read more.

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