This has largely been due to a better understanding of mental illness and its relation to shock. This was the first case in the United Kingdom in which a plaintiff who neither saw nor heard the accident nor saw its aftermath at the locus successfully claimed damages for nervous shock. So rigid an approach would, I think, work great injustice and cannot be rationally justified. In each case damages are sought for psychiatric illness, which, for present purposes, must be assumed to have been caused by the nervous impact on the plaintiff of the death or injury of a primary victim with whom he or she had a strong bond of affection. They sought damages, some of them for personal injuries by way of nervous shock and some in the light of psychiatric injury having seen the match on television, and knowing that their relatives were in the crowd which was caused by the negligence of the police department who was responsible for the crowd control. 394, mourners at a funeral, apparently relatives of the deceased, recovered damages for shock allegedly occasioned by negligence of the defendant's tram driver in damaging the hearse and upsetting the coffin. They may be present in family relationships or those of close friendship, and may be stronger in the case of engaged couples than in that of persons who have been married to each other for many years. The Supreme Court Judgment. Fletcher v Commissioners for Public Works [2003] 2 I.L.R.M.94. 912, the plaintiff recovered damages for the psychiatric illness caused to her deceased husband through the traumatic effects of his gallantry and self-sacrifice in rescuing and comforting victims of the Lewisham railway disaster. Moreover, I can visualise great difficulty arising, if this be the law, where the accident, though not solely caused by the primary victim has been materially contributed to by his negligence. 503, 509 - there is nothing in it which necessarily limits the liability of the tortfeasor to compensating only the primary victim of the event. That injury sustained through nervous shock was capable of grounding a claim for damages was never in doubt, but the pursuer's claim failed because injury of that type to her was not within the area of the deceased's reasonable contemplation. FACTS. However in the case of negligence causing shock different considerations apply because of the wide range of people who may be affected. C.L.A.W Legal is a community initiative supported by: Call for Papers by NLIU Journal of Labour and Employmen... Surveillance: Era of End to the Right to Privacy. The case centred upon the liability of the police for the nervous shock suffered in consequence of the events of the Hillsborough disaster . My Lords, the litigation with which these appeals are concerned arose out of the disaster at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, which occurred on 15 April 1989. Lord Keith of Kinkel . They could not perform their duty of care which led to stampede. If a claimant watching a simultaneous television broadcast does not satisfy the requirements of proximity it follows that a claimant who listens to the wireless or sees a subsequent television recording falls even further short of the requirement. A primary victim one actually involved mediate or immediately as a participant and, those who will always have a valid claim. To extend the notion of proximity in cases of immediately created nervous shock to this more elongated and, to some extent, retrospective process may seem a logical analogical development. One way is by subjecting a close relative to the stress and strain of caring for the injured person over a prolonged period, but psychiatric illness due to such stress and strain has not so far been treated as founding a claim in damages. That is not, of course, to say that the closeness of the relationship between plaintiff and primary victim is irrelevant, for the likelihood or unlikelihood of a person in that relationship suffering shock of the degree claimed from the event must be a most material factor to be taken into account in determining whether that consequence was reasonably foreseeable. . INTRODUCTION 1. In that case the primary victims of the accident caused by the respondent's negligence were the husband and two children of the appellant, who were injured, and another child of hers who was killed. The fact that the defendant's negligent conduct has foreseeably put the plaintiff in the position of being an unwilling participant in the event establishes of itself a sufficiently proximate relationship between them and the principal question is whether, in the circumstances, injury of that type to that plaintiff was or was not reasonably foreseeable. She had no apprehension of injury to herself but simply sustained a nervous shock as a result of the noise of the collision. Upon Report from the Appellate Committee to whom was referred the Cause Alcock and others against Wright (sued as Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police) and Copoc and others against Wright (sued as Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police), That the Committee had heard Counsel as well on Monday the 7th as on Tuesday the 8th, Wednesday the 9th, Thursday the 10th and … 141, if the plaintiff's child had not, as she did in fact, suffered any injury at all. 430, where the plaintiff was herself directly involved as a victim in the accident in which her husband was killed. Equally obviously, the foreseeability of such injury to such a person will be more difficult to establish than similar injury to a spouse or parent of the primary victim. para5 Hambrook v. Stokes Brothers [1925] 1 K.B. Facts The question does not, fortunately, fall to be determined in the instant case, but I suspect that an English court would be likely to take a similar view. It is of paramount importance that the law enforcement witnessing a relative die from a disease over days or weeks. In both McLoughlin v. O'Brian [1983] 1 A.C. 410 and in Alcock v. Chief Constable of South Yorkshire [1992] 1 A.C. 310, members of the House referred to Chadwick with approval. However Kennedy J. said, at p. 675, that if nervous shock occasioned by negligence was to give a cause of action it must arise "from a reasonable fear of immediate personal injury to oneself." In Jaensch v. Coffey (1984) 155 C.L.R. It was argued for the plaintiffs in the present case that reasonable foreseeability of the risk of injury to them in the particular form of psychiatric illness was all that was required to bring home liability to the defendant. In Alcock v. Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1992] 1 AC 310, claims were brought by those who had suffered psychiatric injury as a result of the Hillsborough disaster. Under what circumstances could spectators of multiple descriptions recover? These are all cases where the plaintiff has, to a greater or lesser degree, been personally involved in the incident out of which the action arises, either through the direct threat of bodily injury to himself or in coming to the aid of others injured or threatened. The term Zimmediate victim [ is used to describe Psychiatric damage rules apply where there is no physical injury. 429, where a mother's claim for damages for shock caused by witnessing a near accident to her child was rejected, would be decided in the same way today in the light of later authorities. If such relationship is not established the claim will fail. Lastly, in each case there was not only an element of physical proximity to the event but a close temporal connection between the event and the plaintiff's perception of it combined with a close relationship of affection between the plaintiff and the primary victim. In essence this involves answering the twin questions of (a) whether injury of this sort to each particular plaintiff was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the acts or omissions constituting the breach of duty to the primary victim and (b) whether there existed between the defendant and each plaintiff that degree of directness or proximity necessary to establish liability. in Heaven v. Pender, 11 Q.B.D. 352-354: The question of liability in negligence for what is commonly, if inaccurately, described as "nervous shock" has only twice been considered by this House, in Bourhill v. Young [1943] AC 92 and in McLoughlin v. O'Brian [1983] 1 AC 410. Accordingly their claims must fail, as must those of the other plaintiffs who only learned of the disaster by watching simultaneous television. Suppose, for instance, that the primary victim has lived with the plaintiff for 40 years, both being under the belief that they are lawfully married. He was not, in my judgment, reasonably foreseeable as a potential sufferer from shock-induced psychiatric illness, in default of very special facts and none was established. Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire – Case Summary. For him to have been reasonably in contemplation by a defendant he must be: The requirement contained in the words "so closely and directly affected ... that" constitutes a control upon the test of reasonable foreseeability of injury. My Lords, for these reasons I would dismiss each of these appeals. Click here to remove this judgment from your profile. The kinds of relationshp which may involve close ties of love and affection are numerous, and it is the existence of such ties which leads to mental disturbance when the loved one suffers a catastrophe. The nervous shock resulted from the plaintiff's fear that the falling load would injure or kill some of his fellow workmen. NAME OF THE COURT: House of Lords PETITIONER: Alcock RESPONDENT: Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police DATE OF JUDGEMENT: 28 December 1991 BENCH: Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Ackner, Lord Oliver of Aylmerton, … She claimed to have suffered psychiatric illness as a result of her experience, and at the trial of her action of damages against those responsible for the accident this was assumed to be the fact. However, the precedent set by Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire precluded any successful claims in negligence against the police for damage caused in the course of apprehending a suspect. University. In this case, hearing about the disaster on radio or TV reports subsequently did not satisfy condition but the police department was held liable for negligence in duty to care. Whilst, therefore, I cannot, for the reasons which I have sought to explain, accept Mr. Woodward's submission that it is for your Lordships to lay down, on grounds of public policy, an arbitrary requirement of the existence of a particular blood or marital relationship as a pre-condition of liability, I equally believe that further pragmatic extensions of the accepted concepts of what constitutes proximity must be approached with the greatest caution. 73 were correctly decided, since in both of these cases the effective cause of the psychiatric illness would appear to have been the fact of a son's death and the news of it. Study Resources. 428, 429. Of the six plaintiffs who were successful before Hidden J. only one, who lost two brothers, was present at the ground. They permitted thousands of football fans to gather in one part of the stadium. This case arose from the disaster … In such circumstances section 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (substituted by section 3 of the Administration of Justice Act 1982) gives a limited right of compensation for bereavement. Verdict passed by the honourable judges in this case is still considered to be a good judgment in law and henceforth has been applied to many other cases. v. Dickman [1990] 2 AC 605, 618, 621, 623, and I do not believe for one moment that, in expressing his view with regard to foreseeability in McLoughlin v. O'Brian [1983] 1 AC 410, he was overlooking that element which is, after all, implicit in any discussion of tortious negligence based upon Lord Atkin's classical statement of principle, or was doing more than meeting the argument which had been advanced that, even given foreseeability, an immutable line either had been or ought to be drawn by the law at the furthest point reached by previously decided cases. My Lords, speaking for myself, I see no logic and no virtue in seeking to lay down as a matter of "policy" categories of relationship within which claims may succeed and without which they are doomed to failure in limine. In case of any confusion, feel free to reach out to us.Leave your message here. In this chapter, I argue that Alcock was an essentially conservative View Alcock and others v Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police.docx from BUSINESS 285 at Northeastern University. In the context of the instant appeals the cases of the former type are not particularly helpful, except to the extent that they yield a number of illuminating dicta, for they illustrate only a directness of relationship (and thus a duty) which is almost self-evident from a mere recital of the facts. All of them were connected in various ways with persons who were in that area, being related to such persons or, in one case, being a fianc e. In most cases the person with whom the plaintiff was concerned was killed, in other cases that person was injured, and in one case turned out to be uninjured. The quality of brotherly love is well known to differ widely - from Cain and Abel to David and Jonathan. Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police concerned sixteen unsuccessful claims for psychiatric injury (PI) resulting from the Hillsborough disaster. The wife was not present at the locus but reached the hospital before her husband and son and daughter had been cleaned up and when they were all very distressed. 2016/2017 Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1991] UKHL 5, [1992] 1 AC 310 is a leading English tort law case on liability for nervous shock (psychiatric injury). My Lords, for some 90 years it has been recognised that nervous shock sustained independently of physical injury and resulting in psychiatric illness can give rise to a claim for damages in an action founded on negligence. The Supreme Court Judgment. Sixteen separate actions were brought against him by persons none of whom was present in the area where the disaster occurred, although four of them were elsewhere in the ground. Thus such a person, given always the reasonable foreseeability of the injury in fact sustained and of such persons witnessing it, may be within the area of proximity in which a duty of care may be found to exist. But I do not think that too much should be read into these remarks. The South Yorkshire police force, which was responsible for crowd control at the match, allowed an excessively large number of intending spectators to enter the ground at the Leppings Lane end, an area reserved for Liverpool supporters. Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police: lt;p|>|Template:Infobox Court Case| ||||Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police|| [199... World Heritage Encyclopedia, the aggregation of the largest online encyclopedias available, and the most definitive collection ever assembled. Alcock and others v Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police CIVIL He then considered the arguments on policy which had led the Court of Appeal to reject the plaintiff's claim, and concluded, at p. 421, that they were not of great force. In Owens v. Liverpool Corporation [1939] 1 K.B. 65 and Ravenscroft v. Rederiaktieb laget Transatlantic [1991] 3 All E.R. My Lords, for my part, I have not felt able to accept either of these two extreme positions nor do I believe that the views expressed in McLoughlin v. O'Brian [1983] 1 AC 410, are as irreconcilable as has been suggested. Creating your profile on CaseMine allows you to build your network with fellow lawyers and prospective clients. Whatever may be the pattern of the future development of the law in relation to this cause of action, the following propositions illustrate that the application simpliciter of the reasonable foreseeability test is, today, far from being operative. In these appeals the visits to the mortuary were made no earlier than nine hours after the disaster and were made not for the purpose of rescuing or giving comfort to the victim but purely for the purpose of identification. Copoc and Others (A.P.) His relatives who died were his two brothers. In general, for instance, it might be supposed that the likelihood of trauma of such a degree as to cause psychiatric illness would be less in the case of a friend or a brother-in-law than in that of a parent or fianc e. But in every case the underlying and essential postulate is a relationship of proximity between plaintiff and defendant and it is this, as it seems to me, which must be the determining factor in the instant appeals. 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