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Tort | Negligence

Breach of Duty: Standard of Proof

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Breach of Duty: Standard of Proof

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  • general rule: C must show D breached duty of care owed / D not have to prove not negligent

Res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself)

  • principle developed to aid C where negligence can only be inferred
  • sugar / sufficient if P proves: D in control of events leading to injury / accident not normally occur without carelessness / exact cause of accident unknown (Scott v London & St Katherine's Docks (1865))
  • control: train door / D liable: driver controlled closing doors (Gee v Metropolitan Railway (1873)) / D not liable: passengers controlled doors (Easson v LNER [1944])
  • carelessness: bags sugar / not normally fall (Scott v London & St Katherine's Docks (1865))
  • unknown cause: if cause known facts no longer speak for themselves / P not rely on res ipsa loquitur / bus tyre (Barkway v South Wales Transport [1950])


  • D must show: how accident occurred (without negligence on his part) or demonstrate he used reasonable care

The Civil Evidence Act 1968

  • S11: convictions / in UK courts / can be used as evidence in civil proceedings (The Civil Evidence Act 1968 )
  • if D convicted of a relevant offence: taken he did commit / unless D can prove contrary / C use to prove D's carelessness
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