But for Test Tort Law Uk
It is essential, both in tort law and in contract law, to prove the doctrine of causality. For a better understanding of the but-for-rule, the concept of causality must be broken down. Causation can simply be defined as the relationship between the defendant`s conduct and the harm suffered. In the case of personal injury involving negligence, it is necessary to prove the existence of an obligation and the breach of that obligation by causality. When establishing causality, the actual cause and immediate cause of the harm must be indicated. To show the real cause, which is factual causality, the but for the rule is applied. This is the process of proving the act of negligence in tort law. In most cases, the but for test is sufficient. But the test is not perfect. Will it meet the same fate as the Ghosh test, which was cancelled just a few weeks ago? The basic test for establishing causation is the „but for” test, in which the defendant is liable only if the plaintiff`s harm did not occur „for” his negligence. Alternatively, the defendant is not liable if the damage would have occurred or could have occurred anyway, regardless of his negligence. To understand this, it is necessary to distinguish between the cause and condition of events.
Lord Hoffmann in South Australia Asset Management Corp v. York Montague Ltd gave a classic example. Due to unfair results such as the one mentioned above, some states apply the substance factor test. Causality in English law concerns the legal criteria of isolation, causation and foreseeability of the tort of negligence. It is also relevant to English criminal law and English contract law. The test but for covers several jurisdictions and areas of practice and is quite close to the hearts of law students. It is similar in this respect to R v. Ghosh, a criminal liability law criterion that is more than familiar even to law students. According to the but-for-test, neither vehicle caused the accident for legal reasons. The plaintiff must prove that the breach of the duty of care caused harm that could be prosecuted. The test for these purposes is a balance between proximity and isolation: the „but for” test is currently being considered by five Supreme Court judges.
But readers will know that Ghosh`s test was dealt with by the Supreme Court. Five judges recently overturned the second subjective part of the dishonesty test, pointing to a significant overhaul of criminal law curricula and textbooks. However, some courts have tried to resolve the problems related to the but for good reason. Some courts use the „substantial factor” test, which states that as long as a defendant`s actions were a significant factor in the crime, that defendant would be found guilty. In the firing squad example, all members of the firing squad would be found guilty. However, this test creates a problem where members of the firing squad whose bullets did not injure the victim are still guilty, even if their actions did not result in the death of the victim. Thus, the courts have found four other ways to deal with issues related to causation. The test goal states that an action is a cause of injury if the injury would not have occurred without the action. In other words, would the harm have occurred if the defendant had not acted as he did? If the answer is NO, then the action caused the damage.
The principle of law will inevitably be familiar to law students of all levels. The purpose-for-court test, which covers both civil and criminal law, asks the following question: „Would the damage (Y) be caused for the actions of the defendant (X)?” If the existence of Y depends on X, the test is completed and causality is proven. If Y had occurred independently of X, the defendant could not be held liable. If you don`t remember the test, you may remember the cases associated with it. The most notable tort case on the subject is Barnett v Chelsea & Kensington Hospital, where a hospital escaped a finding of negligence after sending home a seriously ill A&E man. Although the man later died of arsenic poisoning, the courts ruled that he would have died even if he had been examined and admitted for treatment. In tort law, the notable case of Barnett v. Chelsea & Kensington Hospital  is 1 QB 428. Here, a hospital negligently dismissed a seriously ill man without examining him. The person died the next day and the hospital was charged with negligence.
The court ruled that the person would still have died without the hospital`s negligence. Therefore, the hospital was not held responsible for the death. Most states use 1 in 2 tests to determine the actual case: under the essential factor test, the court considered whether the defendant`s actions were an important factor in the occurrence of the violation. This test gives the court more leeway to determine that more than one party caused an accident. In Pickford v. Imperial Chemical Industries (1998) 1 WLR 1189, the Lords were asked to determine the cause of injuries caused by repeated stress on a typist. Lord Steyn asked the question: „This immediately raises the point that there must be an explanation for the fact that she has PDA4. What was the cause of their PDA4? There was really no alternative but to conclude that this condition was caused by Miss Pickford`s documents.
„Other explanations, however, are that typing could aggravate typing or generally be an inappropriate occupation for a person predisposed to this condition, and both do not prove the legal cause. In all cases, the burden of proof lies with the applicant in order to prove the alleged cause. It is not for the defendant to prove another explanation of the cause of a loss or damage, but failure to do so may be a factor in deciding whether the plaintiff`s explanation of the case should be accepted. This test works well in simple situations, but it is less effective in determining causality in more complex situations where a number of actual or potential causes occur sequentially or simultaneously. For example, in Robinson v. Post Office (1974) 1 WLR 1176, the plaintiff received an injection of tetanus as a result of an accident at work. Nine days later, there was an adverse serum reaction and brain damage. Regardless of the tests the doctor performed, there would have been no signs of adverse effects within a reasonable period of time (see Bolam test). The physician`s reasonable decision to perform the standard treatment was therefore not the primary cause of the brain injury, since the plaintiff would not have been injected „in vain” through the defendant`s negligence. Therefore, when deciding between successive contributions to the final result, the court must decide which is the most substantial contribution. Whether the actions of a third party interrupt the causal chain depends on whether the intervention was foreseeable.  The general rule is that the original defendant is liable for damages caused by a third party as a direct result of his negligence, if this was a very likely consequence.
For example, if the defendant has control over the third party or the third party is faced with a dilemma created by the defendant, it is unlikely that the causal chain will be broken and the defendant is generally liable to the plaintiff for the damage caused: Home Office v. Dorset Yacht Co Ltd.  AC 1004. Continuity of liability is imposed not only because the initial negligence makes the damage caused by the third party foreseeable, but also when the negligence of the defendant makes it very likely that the third party will cause harm to the plaintiff: Lamb v. Camden LBC  QB 625. In practice, however, the requirement that the intervention of third parties generally breaks the chain and at least the obligation to pay damages, which corresponds to the totality of the loss or damage, is divided between the two or more infringements. For example, if A V is injured, it is foreseeable that an ambulance will be called, paramedics will lift and carry V, and there will be a trip back to the hospital. This cycle of intervention continues in the hospital. None of these activities affecting V would occur „outside of” the original negligence, so A would remain liable unless an unpredictable B intervenes (e.g., negligently interferes with his car and collides with the ambulance) or a paramedic or hospital staff member is so severely negligent that it becomes a new cause of action. Among the many tests used to determine causality, the but for test is considered one of the weakest. Two reasons for its weakness are often cited. The „purpose for” rule can be defined as a test applied to the facts of the case, which examines whether the event would have occurred if the defendant`s action had not taken place.
If the events occur despite the elimination of the defendant`s action, the defendant is not liable. For example, let`s say that A and B are in a contract where A has to repair B`s car. A could not properly repair B`s car and the car had an accident. To prove that A`s liability must be applied for the cause of the accident, but for the rule. In this context, the rule attempts to answer the question: „Without the actions of the A, would the accident have occurred?” If A was able to prove that the accident would have occurred independently of the repair he made, A cannot be held responsible for the accident.