2.1.1 Duty of Care - Introduction

Welcome to the first lesson of the second topic in this module guide – Negligence! Duty of care constitutes the first of the three primary elements of tort (duty of care, breach and causation). Although the term ‘duty of care’ can seem a little alien at first, it can roughly be thought of a responsibility of an individual to not harm others through carelessness. To establish a duty of care the Caparo three-stage test must be applied.

At the completion of this section, you should be comfortable understanding how to apply the Caparo three-stage test to establish whether a duty of care is owed. You will understand the development of the duty of care and the exceptions to owing a duty of care. This will enable you to deal with different factual scenarios effectively.

This section begins by discussing what a duty of care is and how the law in this area developed, leading to the current law and the Caparo three-stage test and how this test is applied. It then goes on to discuss specific exceptions, and surrounding factors influencing the outcome of different factual circumstances in finding duty of care.

Goals for this section

● To understand how to establish whether a duty of care is owed using the Caparo three-stage test.

● To understand how to deal with the exceptions to duty of care.

Objectives for this section

  • To be able to define duty of care.
  • To understand the development of duty of care.
  • To be able to outline the Caparo three-stage test.
  • To know the exceptions and special situations.
  • To understand how to deal with duty of care and third party actors.
  • To understand how duty of care operates in the Public Service and how immunity applies.
  • To be able to understand how and why duty of care applies with Special Claimants.

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Problem Questions

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Hands on Examples