Lord Ackner: .. the law gives no damages if the psychiatric injury was not induced by shock. Psychiatric illnesses caused in other ways,such as from the experience of having to cope with the deprivation consequent upon the death of a loved one, attracts no damages...
Lord Ackner: ... 'Shock', in the context of this cause of action, involves the sudden appreciation by sight or sound of a horrifying sight or sound or a horrifying event, which violently agitates the mind. It has yet to include psychiatric illness caused by the accumulation over a period of time of more gradual assaults on the nervous system...
plaintiff (P) involved in minor car accident, caused by D's negligence
P suffered no physical injuries, but since accident P unable to work due to chronic & permanent ME (P previously suffered from mild, sporadic ME)
was a duty of care owed?
duty of care owed: P was primary victim because he was involved in the accident
Lord Lloyd: .. A primary victim is someone was in the actual area of danger or reasonably believed he was in danger. A secondary victim is someone who witnesses injury to another or fears for the safety of another...
primary victims: owed duty of care in relation to pure psychiatric damage, if risk of physical injury was foreseeable (risk of psychiatric harm does not need to be foreseeable)
Lord Lloyd: .. In an age when medical knowledge is expanding fast, and psychiatric knowledge with it, it would not be sensible to commit the law to a distinction between physical and psychiatric injury, which may already seem somewhat artificial, and may soon be altogether outmoded. Nothing will be gained by treating them as different 'kinds' of personal injury, so as to require the application of different tests in law...
earlier case shows same underlying principles
Dulieu v White & Sons  2 KB 669
Ds negligently drove horse drawn cart into a pub & P, pregnant barmaid, suffered shock leading to a miscarriage
was a duty of care owed?
duty of care owed: was foreseeable that Ds' negligence would cause P reasonably fear for her own safety & shock induced, recognised physical condition
D owes primary victim duty of care not to cause pure psychiatric damage, if risk of physical injury was foreseeable
Duty of care: secondary victims
secondary victim: less closely involved in incident than primary victim, therefore test for establishing duty of care more stringent
secondary victim must have suffered medically recognised condition as result of sudden shock
additional requirements: leading case, relates to Hillsborough disaster (large number of football supporters were killed & injured in incident caused by negligence of police officers who allowed overcrowding in the stands)
Ps were relatives of victims of Hillsborough disaster
Ps were secondary victims who suffered pure psychiatric harm (it was assumed Ps could show they suffered PTSD)
some Ps were spectators at football ground & others witnessed events on television
Ds (police force) admitted negligence allowing overcrowding but denied owing duty of care to spectators in relation to pure psychiatric harm
was a duty of care owed?
no duty of care: Ps could not recover damages for psychiatric harm
House of Lords: test to impose duty of care to secondary victims:
foreseeability of psychiatric harm: reasonably foreseeable a person of normal fortitude in P's position would suffer psychiatric illness
proximity of relationship: P must have close relationship of love & affection with person endangered by D's negligence
proximity in time and space: P must be present at incident or immediate aftermath proximity of perception: P must see or hear incident or immediate aftermath, with his own senses
requirements narrow D's liability towards secondary victims
Secondary victims: foreseeability of psychiatric harm
foreseeability of psychiatric harm determined by objective test: is it reasonably foreseeable that person of normal fortitude in C's position would suffer psychiatric harm?
Secondary victims: proximity of relationship
secondary victim must have close relationship of love & affection with immediate victim
rebuttable presumption there is close ties if: parent, child, spouse & C may argue in other relationships sufficient closeness
House of Lords suggested relationship of bystander may be sufficient
Lord Ackner: .. [for example] a petrol tanker careering out of control into a school in session and bursting into flames. I would not be prepared to rule out a potential claim by a passer-by so shocked by the scene as to suffer psychiatric illness...
however later case seems to suggest bystander not sufficiently proximate relationship
Stuart-Smith LJ: .. In my judgment both as a matter of principle and policy the Court should not extend the duty to those who are mere bystanders or witnesses of horrific events unless there is a sufficient degree of proximity, which requires both nearness in time and place and a close relationship of love and affection between plaintiff and victim...
Secondary victims: proximity in time and space and perception
secondary victim must be present at incident or immediate aftermath & see or hear it with his own senses
proximity of time & space established in earlier case & approved in Alcock
some Ps watched live broadcast of incident on television
was proximity of perception satisfied by watching incident on television?
Ps not have proximity of perception: broadcast did not include suffering of identifiable individuals (broadcasting ethics code prevented)
Ps watching footage not equivalent to seeing & hearing event or its immediate aftermath
Lord Ackner: .. the simultaneous television broadcasts of what occurred cannot be equated with the 'sight or hearing of the event or its immediate aftermath'. Accordingly shocks sustained by reason of these broadcasts cannot found a claim... simultaneous broadcasts of a disaster cannot in all cases be ruled out as providing the equivalent of the actual sight or hearing of the event or its immediate aftermath...
Duty of care: rescuers
rescuers may suffer psychiatric damage after helping at accident caused by negligence
primary victim: can rely on egg shell rule, as in Page v Smith 
secondary victim: must show psychiatric damage was objectively, reasonably foreseeable (person of normal fortitude in C's position would suffer psychiatric damage), if test satisfied duty of care established & C may then rely on egg shell rule if suffers psychiatric damage greater than would be expected
C that wrongly believes, due to D's negligence, he caused death or injury to another person, is primary victim
Dooley v Cammell Laird & Co  1 Lloyd's Rep 271
P crane driver employed by D & crane broke due to D's negligence
P suffered psychiatric damage as he wrongly believed fellow workers had been injured due to his own error
was the damage recoverable?
recoverable: psychiatric damage reasonably foreseeable consequence of D's negligence
(11): statutory duty of care owed if P suffers reasonably foreseeable recognisable psychiatric illness as result of death, injury or imperilment of person who has close tie of love & affection, regardless of closeness in time & space to accident or aftermath
(14): fixed list of relationships with close tie of love & affection: spouse, parent, child, sibling, cohabitant of at least 2 yrs
(7): recognisable psychiatric illness not have to be induced by shock
Law Commission's statutory duty would mean:
Alcock test of proximity of time & space not applicable
Alcock test of proximity of relationship applicable but statutory list of those who automatically qualify
Cs suffer psychiatric damage due to prolonged trauma not excluded, as no sudden shock principle
area of law which likely to develop further, especially as understanding of psychiatric damage progresses
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