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Encyclopedia > Standard of care in English law
English Tort law
Part of the common law series
Negligence
Duty of care
Standard of care
Bolam Test
Breach of duty
Causation
Breaking the chain
Acts of the claimant
Remoteness
Professional negligence
Loss of chance
Loss of right
Res ipsa loquitur
Eggshell skull
Defences to negligence
Trespass to property
Defamation
Strict liability
Vicarious liability
Rylands v. Fletcher
Nuisance
Other areas of the common law
Contract law  · Property law
Wills and trusts
Criminal law  · Evidence

In tort law, the standard of care is the degree of prudence and caution required of an individual who is under a duty of care. A breach of the standard is necessary for a successful action in negligence. Image File history File links Scale_of_justice. ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... In tort law, the right to sue and recover damages from another on the basis of negligence, as opposed to numerous other tort theories discussed elsewhere, is based upon proving that the defendant failed to use ordinary care, that is,that degree of care for the protection of the person... In tort, there can be no liability in negligence unless the claimant establishes both that he or she was owed a duty of care by the defendant, and that there has been a breach of that duty. ... The Bolam Test In Sidaway v Governors of Bethlem Royal Hospital, Lord Scarman said: The Bolam principle may be formulated as a rule that a doctor is not negligent if he acts in accordance with a practice accepted at the time as proper by a responsible body of medical opinion... In tort, there can be no liability in negligence unless the claimant establishes both that he or she was owed a duty of care by the defendant, and that there has been a breach of that duty. ... In the English law of tort, causation proves a physical link between the defendant’s negligence and the claimant’s loss and damage. ... In the English law of the tort of negligence, breaking the chain refers to the test of causation because, even if the defendant can be shown to have acted negligently, there will be no liability if some new intervening act (or novus actus interveniens) breaks the causal link between that... In the English law of negligence, the acts of the claimant may give the defendant a defence to liability, whether in whole or part, if those acts unreasonably add to the loss. ... In the English law of negligence, the test of causation not only requires that the defendant was the cause in fact, but also requires that the loss or damage sustained by the claimant was not too remote. ... In the English law of tort, professional negligence is a subset of the general rules on negligence to cover the situation in which the defendant has represented him or herself as having more than average skills and abilities. ... In English law loss of chance cases, the law is invited to assess hypothetical outcomes, either affecting the claimant or a third party, where the defendants breach of contract or of the duty of care for the purposes of negligence deprived the claimant of the opportunity to obtain a... In the English law of tort, loss of right is a new heading of potential liability arising as a matter of policy to counteract limitations perceived in the more traditional rules of causation. ... Res ipsa loquitur is a legal term from the Latin meaning literally, The thing itself speaks but is more often translated The thing speaks for itself. The doctrine is applied to tort claims which, as a matter of law, do not have to be explained beyond the obvious facts. ... The eggshell skull rule (or thin-skull rule) is a legal doctrine used in both tort law and criminal law that holds an individual liable for all consequences resulting from their activities leading to an injury to another person, even if the victim suffers unusual damages due to a pre... In English and American law, and systems based on them, libel and slander are two forms of defamation (or defamation of character), which is the tort or delict of making a false statement of fact that injures someones reputation. ... Strict liability is a legal doctrine in tort law that makes a person responsible for the damages caused by their actions regardless of culpability (fault) or mens rea. ... Vicarious liability is a form of strict, secondary liability that arises under the common law doctrine of agency – respondeat superior – the responsibility of the superior for the acts of their subordinate and can be distinguished from contributory liability, another form of secondary liability, which is rooted in the tort theory... Rylands v. ... Nuisance is a common law tort. ... A contract is a legally binding exchange of promises or agreement between parties. ... Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership in real property (land as distinct from personal or movable possessions) and in personal property, within the common law legal system. ... In the common law, a will or testament is a document by which a person (the testator) regulates the rights of others over his property or family after death. ... The law of trusts and estates is generally considered the body of law which governs the management of personal affairs and the disposition of property of an individual in anticipation and the event of such persons incapacity or death, also known as the law of successions in civil law. ... Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of statutory and common law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. ... The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (e. ... In the common law, a tort is a civil wrong for which the law provides a remedy. ... In law, a duty of care is the legal requirement that a person exercise a reasonable standard of care to prevent injury of others. ... In tort law, the right to sue and recover damages from another on the basis of negligence, as opposed to numerous other tort theories discussed elsewhere, is based upon proving that the defendant failed to use ordinary care, that is,that degree of care for the protection of the person...

Contents

General standard of care

In order not to breach a duty of care, a defendant must generally meet the standard of a 'reasonable man' as Alderson B stated in Blyth v Birmingham Waterworks (1856) 11 Exch 781.


A reasonable person can be defined as 'the man on the Clapham omnibus' as Greer LJ explains in Hall v. Brooklands Auto-Racing Club (1933) 1 KB 205. Lord Steyn describes the term as 'commuters on the London Underground' (McFarlane v. Tayside Health Board (1999) 3 WLR). The reasonable man or reasonable person standard is a legal fiction that originated in the development of the common law. ... The man on the Clapham omnibus is a descriptive formulation of a reasonably educated and intelligent but non-specialist person - a reasonable man; a hypothetical person against whom a defendants conduct might be judged in an English law civil action for negligence. ... Johan van Zyl Steyn, Baron Steyn (born August 15, 1932) is a South African/English jurist, and until September 2005 a Law Lord. ...


This test is an object test, that is based on an average person. It does not require perfection, but takes into account that an average person does not foresee every risk. The average person is not assumed to be flawless.


Skilled professionals

The general test regarding standard of care would not work in every case examining a tort of negligence. Action or omissions of skilled professionals might lead to a tort of negligence. Due to their special education and certification a higher standard of care is required. This means, i.e. if a car mechanic repairs a car, the standard of care required would not be that of a reasonable person, but that of a reasonable car mechanic. // Tort is a legal term that means civil wrong, as opposed to a criminal wrong. ... In tort law, the right to sue and recover damages from another on the basis of negligence, as opposed to numerous other tort theories discussed elsewhere, is based upon proving that the defendant failed to use ordinary care, that is,that degree of care for the protection of the person...


In the case Bolam v. Friern Hospital Management Committee (1957) 2 All ER 118, a test for medical practitioners has been defined, the 'Bolam test'. This test basically states that a medical practitioner is compliant with the expected standard of care if other medical professionals would have acted the same way. This test is highly controversial since it effectively prevents courts from reviewing the standards of the medical profession, and allows medical professionals to set their own standard. The Bolam Test In Sidaway v Governors of Bethlem Royal Hospital, Lord Scarman said: The Bolam principle may be formulated as a rule that a doctor is not negligent if he acts in accordance with a practice accepted at the time as proper by a responsible body of medical opinion...


Out of this controversy, the House of Lords decided in Bolitho v. City and Hackney Health Authority (1997) UKHL 46 that courts would only follow the Bolam test if the opinion of the medical professionals can be accepted as logical by the judges. The House of Lords, in addition to having a legislative function, has a judicial function as a court of last resort within the United Kingdom. ... The Bolam Test In Sidaway v Governors of Bethlem Royal Hospital, Lord Scarman said: The Bolam principle may be formulated as a rule that a doctor is not negligent if he acts in accordance with a practice accepted at the time as proper by a responsible body of medical opinion...


Novices

Novices in a certain skill must show the same standard of care as a reasonable person with the particular skill.

  • Nettleship v. Weston (1971) 3 All ER 581 requires a novice driver to show the same standard of care as a reasonably competent driver.
  • Wilsher v. Essex Area Health Authority (1986) 3 All ER 801 expects a junior doctor to perform compliant to the standard of a competent doctor.
  • Wells v. Cooper (1958) 2 All ER 527 states that someone who does DIY jobs repairing their own house is expected to show the same standard of care as a reasonable professional of the particular trade involved.

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