TORT: Advise all the parties as to their potential claims in the tort of negligence, if any, as a r

Essay by maz187 January 2004

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In advising the potential parties as to whether they have a prima facie case in the tort of negligence we must consider which parties have been wronged and then establish if they are owed a duty of care, whether there was a breach of that duty and whether the breach caused the damage for which the parties wish to claim damages. We must consider who is entitled to claim compensation and for what type of damage they sustained. It would seem that there is a prima facie claim from three of the parties involved Henry, Ron and Brenda for economic loss, negligence and nervous shock but there are also questions of novus actus interveniens a new intervening act, contributory negligence and several concurrent liability.

Henry has lost £45,000 on the shares he bought in Abel. To have a potential claim in tort against either Tom or Technology Investments, the specialist magazine, he must prove on the balance of probabilities that there was negligence.

He must first establish if there was a duty of care owed by either party to Henry. It has been the general presumption of tort law that recovery for "pure" economic loss was not actionable save in exceptional cases, to impose such a duty would lead to "...liability in an indeterminate amount for an indeterminate time to an indeterminate class...". However the landmark case of Hedley Byrne-v-Heller allowed recovery in certain situations. The scope of Hedley Byrne is somewhat limited by dicta in Caparo-v-Dickman which excluded liability for general statements to the public and Mutual Life & Citizens' Assurance-v-Evatt where the Privy Council sought to limit the scope to advice given in the course of business. However the Court of Appeal has held there to be a duty of care between friends in circumstances where there is...