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The Duty Of Care On Public Bodies

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An explanation will be made on how the current law addresses the imposition of a duty of care on public bodies. An evaluation will then be made to determine whether the duty of care the police owe to protect individuals from a known threat should be legally recognised.
The common law duty of care was established in Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562 (HL) and refined in Caparo Industries plc v Dickman [1990] 2 AC 605 (HL). Any party including public authorities may owe a duty of care to another if particular conditions are fulfilled. The Caparo conditions apply to public bodies in respect of whether it is fair, just and reasonable to impose a duty of care on their actions.
The fundamental case to address the duty of care imposed on a
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Further to the general negligence position on public bodies, in instances of omissions the general principle is that there is no duty to act unless a special relationship exists. However, there is an exception, a duty is owed if proximity is established as demonstrated in Home Office v Dorset Yacht Co Ltd [1970] UKHL 2.
Lord Bingham did not agree that the policy arguments established in Hill and subsequently followed in Brooks to be appropriate in the context of Smith. In Smith he attempted to introduce a ‘liability principle’. The principle proposed that where evidence is credible and the threat is specific and imminent, reasonable steps must be taken to assess such a threat and act where necessary. He did not agree that adopting the principle would induce defensive practices, neither did he agree that accepting the principle would detract from the police’s primary functions. The ‘liability principle’ reflected the content of Article 2 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), Right to life.
Following the signing of the ECHR, the United Kingdom introduced the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998). Under s6(3)(a) HRA 1998, the courts are now considered a public body, therefore no decisions they make can affect the guaranteed rights of any individual under ECHR. The introduction of this legislation has resulted in individuals bringing claims for Human Rights breaches where negligence claims have
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