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Junior Books Ltd v Veitchi Co Ltd [1983] 1 AC 520

Tort law – Negligence – Duty of care – Damages

Facts

The defendants were specialists in flooring and were sub-contractors to lay a floor in a factory which was to be used by the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs claimed that due to the negligence of the defendants, the floor was faulty and as they were specialists on the matter, they were liable for the damage caused by the cracking in the floor. As a result of this, the plaintiff brought an action claiming for the costs related to relaying the floor, for loss of profits and the cost to the factory for getting the floor replaced. There was no claim for injury to persons caused by the floor. The defendants appealed the claim of the plaintiffs.

Issue

The key issue for the court was whether the relationship between the parties was enough to construct a duty of care with regards the faulty floor. It was important for the court to consider the types of loss that the plaintiff could claim for on the basis that the loss to the plaintiff was purely economic, rather than injury to an individual.

Held

The court dismissed the appeal of the defendants. The court held that the parties were sufficiently close and therefore there was a scope of duty between them. It was found that this was not limited to a duty to avoid causing foreseeable harm to persons or property but also created a duty to avoid pure economic loss, as a result of the work that had been defected. On this basis, the plaintiff could recover the cost of repairing the floor.


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