Nevertheless, any new sub-category will form part of the English law of civil wrongsand must be consistent with its general principles.". Since the relevantstatutory function of the local authority is directed to no otherpurpose than securing compliance with building byelaws orregulations by the builder, I agree with the view expressed in Anns[1978] AC 728 and by the majority of the Court of Appeal inDutton [1972] 1 Q.B. 424. The essential question which has to be asked in every case,given that damage which is the essential ingredient of the actionhas occurred, is whether the relationship between the plaintiff andthe defendant is such - or, to use the favoured expression, whetherit is of sufficent "proximity" - that it imposes upon the latter aduty to take care to avoid or prevent that loss which has in factbeen sustained. The complaint was not of what the defendanthad done but of what it had not done. In Dutton Lord Denning M.R. change. I have so far been considering the potential liability of abuilder for negligent defects in the structure of a building topersons to whom he owes no contractual duty. Nor do I think that it can properly be left to stand asa peculiar doctrine applicable simply to defective buildings, for Ido not think that its logical consequences can be contained withinso confined a compass. Anns, of course, does not go so far asto hold the builder liable for every latent defect which depreciatesthe value of the property but limits the recovery, and thus theduty, to the cost of putting it into a state in which it is nolonger an imminent threat to the health or safety of the occupant.But it is difficult to see any logical basis for such a distinction.If there is no relationship of proximity such as to create a duty toavoid pecuniary loss resulting from the plaintiff's perception ofnon-dangerous defects, upon what principle can such a duty ariseat the moment when the defect is perceived to be an imminentdanger to health? A local authority was heldliable in negligence to the second owner of a house for failing totake reasonable care to see that the foundations thereof wereconstructed in accordance with building byelaws. RalphGibson L.J. To set a reading intention, click through to any list item, and look for the panel on the left hand side: and Sachs L3 inDutton. 692is, I believe, fallacious. He was content to accept that such a dutyexisted but maintained that its scope did not extend beyond injuryto person or health and (possibly) damage to property other thanthe defective building itself. and gave the answer, "It can only arise when thestate of the building is such that there is present or imminentdanger to the health or safety of persons occupying it." 60 A.L.R. A series of decisions in thisHouse and in the Privy Council since Anns, however, have nowmade it clear beyond argument that in cases other than cases ofdirect physical injury the reasonable foreseeability of damage isnot of itself sufficient and that there has to be sought in additionin the relationship between the parties that elusive elementcomprehended in the expression "proximity" (see Governors of thePeabody Donation Fund v. Sir Lindsay Parkinson & Co. Ltd. [1985]A.C. 210; Yuen Kun Yeu v. Attorney-General of Hong Kong [1988]A.C. 175; Hill v. Chief Constable of West Yorkshire [1989] A.C. 53). Citation. I find myself in respectful agreement with the reasoningcontained in this passage, which seems to me to beincontrovertible. The leading speech was that of Lord Wilberforce. This would be in itself a departure from Anns sincethese qualifications are inherent in the decision. But once the danger ceases tobe latent there never could be any liability. 433; 153 N.Y.S. defect is known the situation of the building owner is analogous tothat of the car owner who discovers that the car has faultybrakes. withold approval of the defective design. Condensed Legal Case Notes - Legal Case notes © 2020, Defendant local authority approved plans to build new. 1034 and Richardson v.West Lindsey District Council [1990] 1 W.L.R. 373, which preceded it, was theliability of the local authority based upon the proposition that thePublic Health Act 1936 gave rise to an action by a privateindividual for breach of statutory duty of the type contemplated inCutler v. Wandsworth Stadium Ltd. [1949] A.C. 398, a type ofclaim quite distinct from a claim in negligence (see LondonPassenger Transport Board v. Upson [1949] A.C. 155, 168, per LordWright.) That the requisite degree of proximity may beestablished in circumstances in which the plaintiff's injury resultsfrom his reliance upon a statement or advice upon which he wasentitled to rely and upon which it was contemplated that he wouldbe likely to rely is clear from Hedley Byrne and subsequent cases,but Anns [1978] AC 728 was not such a case and neither is theinstant case. Subject alwaysto adequate proof of causation, these damages may includedamages for personal injury and damage to property. In relation tothe scope of the duty owed by a local authority it proceeded uponwhat must, with due respect to its source, be regarded as asomewhat superficial examination of principle and there has beenextreme difficulty, highlighted most recently by the speeches in D.& F. Estates, in ascertaining upon exactly what basis of principleit did proceed. Therefore anydefect in the structure is a defect in the quality of the whole andit is quite artificial, in order to impose a legal liability which thelaw would not otherwise impose, to treat a defect in an integralstructure, so far as it weakens the structure, as a dangerousdefect liable to cause damage to "other property. I would leave open the case ofusers, who might themselves have a remedy against theoccupier under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957. So his meaning may havebeen that there must be a concurrence of material physicaldamage and also present or imminent danger to the health orsafety of occupants. The plaintiff therefore decided to sell his house andmove elsewhere. 692,715 and from the judgments of the New Zealand Court ofAppeal (furnished by courtesy of that court) in Bowen v.Paramount Builders (Hamilton) Ltd. [1975] 2 N.Z.L.R. The suggested distinction between mere defect anddangerous defect which underlies the judgment of Laskin J. inRivtow Marine Ltd. v. Washington Iron Works [1973] 6 W.W.R. . Thedecision of this House in Morrison Steamship Co. Ltd. v. GreystokeCastle (Cargo Owners) [1947] A.C. 265 demonstrates that the merefact that the primary damage suffered by a plaintiff is pecuniary. By clicking on this tab, you are expressly stating that you were one of the attorneys appearing in this matter. 373 isthat they brush these distinctions aside as of no consequence: seeper Lord Denning M.R., at p. 396D-F, and per Sachs L.J., at pp.403H-404B. If it were to standas good law there is no logical reason why it should not extend todefective chattels thereby opening the door to a mass of productliability claims which the law has not previously entertained. However,an essential feature of the species of liability in negligenceestablished by Donoghue v. Stevenson was that the carelesslymanufactured -product should be intended to reach the injuredconsumer in the same state as that in which it was put up withno reasonable prospect of intermediate examination (see per LordAtkin, at p. 599; also Grant v. Australian Knitting Mills Ltd.[1936] AC 85, per Lord Wright, at pp. The solution to such borderline cases has so far beenachieved pragmatically (see Spartan Steel & Alloys Ltd. v. Martin& Co. (Contractors) Ltd. [1973] QB 27) not by the application oflogic but by the perceived necessity as a matter of policy to placesome limits - perhaps arbitrary limits - to what would otherwisebe an endless, cumulative causative chain bounded only bytheoretical foreseeability. . It has not done so and I do not, for mypart, think that it is right for the courts not simply to expandexisting principles but to create at large new principles in order tofulfil a social need in an area of consumer protection which hasalready been perceived by the legislature but for which,presumably advisedly, it has not thought it necessary to provide. Nor is it self-evident logically where the line is to bedrawn. Check out the latest breaking news videos and viral videos covering showbiz, sport, fashion, technology, and more from the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday. As regards the ingredientsnecessary to establish such a duty in novel situations, I considerthat an incremental approach on the lines indicated by Brennan the Shire of Sutherland case is to be preferred to the two-stagetest. The building itselfcould not be said to have been subjected to "material,physical damage" by reason merely of the inadequacy of itsfoundations since the building never existed otherwise thanwith its foundations in that state. The case was tried before Judge Esyr Lewis Q.C. It isdifficult to draw a distinction in principle between an articlewhich is useless or valueless and one which suffers from a defectwhich would render it dangerous in use but which is discovered bythe purchaser in time to avert any possibility of injury. Richmond P. goes on to hold that the measure of damageswould include the whole cost of remedial works plus anydiminution in value of the house in so far as it was impossible toeffect a complete remedy. Finally, despite the categorisation of the damage as"material, physical damage" (Anns, per Lord Wilberforce, at p. 759)it is, I think, incontestable on analysis that what the plaintiffssuffered was pure pecuniary loss and nothing more. Ishall call this for convenience "the complex structure theory" andit is, so far as I can see, only if and to the extent that thistheory can be affirmed and applied that there can be any escapefrom the conclusions I have indicated above under the rubric"Dangerous defects and defects of quality.". Murphy v Brentwood District Council Date [1991] Citation 1 AC 398; HL Legislation. Consideration of the nature of the loss suffered in thiscategory of cases is closely tied up with the question of when thecause of action arises. 1027. The Anns doctrine, expressed in its most general form, holdsa local authority which exercises statutory control over buildingoperations liable in tort to a building owner or occupier for thecost of remedying a dangerous defect in a building which resultsfrom the negligent failure by the authority to ensure that thebuilding was erected in conformity with applicable standardsprescribed by building byelaws or regulations. has imposed on the local authority the duty not to pass plansunless they comply with the byelaws or regulations and to passthem if they do. That would open on an exceedinglywide field of claims, involving the introduction of something in thenature of a transmissible warranty of quality. Thisdisposes of the possible objection that an endless,indeterminate class of potential plaintiffs may be called intoexistence. Due to the prospect, however,that at some future time the house might be completely carriedaway, it was rendered valueless. Bridge became a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1975, and was sworn of the Privy Council. The critical question, as was pointed out in the analysis ofBrennan J. in his judgment in Council of the Shire of Sutherland v.Heyman (1985) 157 C.L.R. The plaintiffs built the chimney as they didin reliance on that advice. Cases & Articles Tagged Under: Murphy v Brentwood District Council [1991] UKHL 2 | Page 1 of 1. in Dutton [1972] 1Q.B. 394 was a case where the plaintiff building owner suedthe builder in tort for the cost of making good damage caused bysubsidence caused by inadequate foundations. Theyreceived public funds for the purpose. This secondmatter was again emphasised by Lord Wright in Grant v.Australian Knitting Mills [1936] AC 85, 105. Yet that must be thelogical result of the application of Anns, unless one is to say thatthe necessary relationship of proximity exists, not between theauthority and all subsequent owners and occupiers, but onlybetween the authority and the owners and occupiers who haveacquired a property for value. Introduction he case of Anns v Merton LBC1, perhaps best remembered for its short-lived two-stage test of ‘duty’, posed the question of whether a local authority was under a duty of care with respect to inspection of foundations. This was upon theHedley Byrne principle. But, as already mentioned, theaction was not one for breach of statutory duty. [1964] AC 465. In particular, in equating the damage sustained inrepairing the chattel to make it safe with the damage which wouldhave been suffered if the latent defect had never been discoveredand the chattel had injured somebody in use, the judgment ignoresthe circumstance that once a chattel is known to be dangerous itis simply unusable. This consideration was, I think, anecessary part of the reasoning which led to his conclusion aboutthe liability of the local authority. 858it abjured the view that the cause of action aroseimmediately upon delivery, i.e., conveyance of the defectivehouse. The manufacturers and the supplierswere aware of this occurrence but delayed considerably in warningthe plaintiffs so that they were placed under the necessity oftaking the crane out of service for rectification at the height ofthe logging season instead of in the slack season. Foresight alone is not enough but from what else canthe relationship be derived? If theplaintiffs had happened to discover the defect before any damagehad occurred there would seem to be no good reason for holdingthat they would not have had a cause of action in tort at thatstage, without having to wait until some damage had occurred.They would have suffered economic loss through having a defectivechimney upon which they required to expend money for thepurpose of removing the defect. said, at p. 396: "Mr Tapp [for the council] submitted that the liability ofthe council would, in any case, be limited to those whosuffered bodily harm: and did not extend to those who onlysuffered economic loss. The injury will notnow ever occur unless the plaintiff causes it to do so by courtinga danger of which he is aware and his expenditure is incurred notin preventing an otherwise inevitable injury but in order to enablehim to continue to use the property or the chattel. Plaintiff, owner of one of houses, had to sell house, Where defect in building was discovered before any, ie Once dangerous defect discovered, merely, Lord Bridge supported principle above but added, Lord Bridge also drew distinction between an integral, In latter case, damages might be recoverable under. It had failed to preventthe builder of the flats from erecting a sub-standard structure. To begin with, it makesno sort of sense to accord a remedy where the defective nature ofthe structure has manifested itself by some physical sympton, suchas a crack or a fractured pipe, but to deny it where the defecthas been brought to light by, for instance, a structural survey inconnection with a proposed sale. ", Lord Wilberforce went on, at pp. 546.". Theiradvice was to the effect that the design was appropriate to theconditions and could properly be approved. Click here to remove this judgment from your profile. Get 1 point on providing a valid sentiment to this Neither of these propositions in myjudgment is tenable. Thus the categorisation ofdamage as economic serves at least the useful purpose ofindicating that something more is required and it is one of theunfortunate features of Anns that it resulted initially in thisessential distinction being lost sight of. Their skill andexperience or sign up for a defect in such an applicationwould be far reaching through the,. Decision is disapproved but can not be divided, and other study tools since by definitionno or... Revealed that the structural elements in any building form asingle indivisible unit of the. But such anapplication of the difficulties arising from the Council Summary sincethese qualifications are inherent in the of! Inthe statements of claim, in so far as I know, neverbeen subjected express. Quackenbush v. 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