Judgment: 5.3.92. 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. Obviously a claim for damages for psychiatric injury by a remote relative of the primary victim will factually require most cautious scrutiny and faces considerable evidentiary difficulties. 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, if sympathy alone were to be the determining factor in these claims, then they would never have been contested. 6.9 Judgment on Withdrawal – part - rule 52 EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNALS Claimant: Ms S Morgan Respondent: The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police JUDGMENT The claims at paragraphs 5 and 16 of the “Discussion” section of the Order of 29 January 2020 are dismissed following a … That they were sufficient to give rise to worry and concern cannot be in doubt, but in each case other than those of Brian Harrison and Robert Alcock, who were present at the ground, the plaintiff learned of the death of the victim at secondhand and many hours later. In Jaensch v. Coffey (1984) 155 C.L.R. CHIEF CONSTABLE OF SOUTH YORKSHIRE POLICE - and - DISCLOSURE AND BANNING SERVICE First Defendant ... Approved Judgment . 549, Deane J. expressed the view that no claim could be entertained as a matter of law in a case where the primary victim is the negligent defendant himself and the shock to the plaintiff arises from witnessing the victim's self-inflicted injury. Get 2 points on providing a valid reason for the above That it does not is, I think, clear from Hinz v. Berry [1970] 2 Q.B. Into the same category, I believe, fall those cases such as Dooley v. Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd. [1951] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 271, Galt v. British Railways Board (1983) 133 N.L.J. I turn to the question of proximity which arises in the context of those plaintiffs who saw the disaster on television either contemporaneously or in later recorded transmissions and of those who identified their loved ones in the temporary mortuary some nine or more hours after the disaster had taken place. Judgment: 5.3.92. If I may say so with respect, the views expressed by Lord Bridge are open to the criticism that, on their face, they entirely ignore the critical element of proximity to which reference has been made, taking us back to the "demonstrably too wide" proposition of Brett M.R. These cases included claims made by brothers, sisters, parents, a grand-parent and a fiancé. Victoria University of Wellington. In Alcock v. Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police 1 A.C. 310, claims were brought by those who had suffered psychiatric injury as a result of the Hillsborough disaster. Nor can it be the mere suddenness or unexpectedness of the event, for the news brought by a policeman hours after the event may be as sudden and unexpected to the recipient as the occurrence of the event is to the spectator present at the scene. Since the decision of your Lordships' House in McLoughlin v. O'Brian [1983] 1 AC 410, if not earlier, it is established law that (1) a claim for damages for psychiatric illness resulting from shock caused by negligence can be made without the necessity of the plaintiff establishing that he was himself injured or was in fear of personal injury; (2) a claim for damages for such illness can be made when the shock results: (a) from death or injury to the plaintiff's spouse or child or the fear of such death or injury and (b) the shock has come about through the sight or hearing of the event, or its immediate aftermath. In such a case he can be properly said to be the primary victim of the defendant's negligence and the fact that the injury which he sustains is inflicted through the medium of an assault on the nerves or senses does not serve to differentiate the case, except possibly in the degree of evidentiary difficulty, from a case of direct physical injury. 439-443. He was medically retired from the South Yorkshire Police in May 2008, and he complained that he had been the victim of unlawful discrimination. It is readily foreseeable that very real and easily ascertainable injury is likely to result to those dependent upon the primary victim or those upon whom, as a result of negligently inflicted injury, the primary victim himself becomes dependent. White v Chief Constable of the Yorkshire Police [1998] 3 WLR 1509. In another judgment (Frost v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1999] 2 AC 455), Lord Hoffman said that "the search for principle was called off [in Alcock]". If such relationship is not established the claim will fail. 549, 578-586, per Deane J. The Court of Appeal found there to be no duty of care owed and no breach. State Of Bombay And Another v. F. N. Balsara (AIR 1951 SC 318), Arup Bhuyan V. State Of Assam [2011] 3 SCC 377. Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police - Wikipedia They state, at pp. His relatives who died were his two brothers. contains alphabet), Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire. that an award of damages for shock caused by the sight of an accident may be restricted to cases where the plaintiff is "a close relative.". 65 and Ravenscroft v. Rederiaktieb laget Transatlantic [1991] 3 All E.R. 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. In Bourhill v. Young the pursuer was neither related to or known to the deceased cyclist, who was the victim of his own negligence, nor did she witness the accident, although she heard the crash from some 50 feet away and some time later saw blood on the road. It is, however, worth noting that the pursuer's claim was not dismissed in limine on the ground that she was no more than, at highest, a mere spectator. This is no more than the natural and inevitable result of the growing appreciation by modern medical science of recognisable causal connections between shock to the nervous system and physical or psychiatric illness. Therefore events witnessed on television, for example, will not succeed. Broadly they divide into two categories, that is to say, those cases in which the injured plaintiff was involved, either mediately or immediately, as a participant, and those in which the plaintiff was no more than the passive and unwilling witness of injury caused to others. The Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, consisting of Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Ackner, Lord Oliver of Aylmerton, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, and Lord Lowry has established a number of "control mechanisms" or conditions that had to be fulfilled in order for a duty of care to be found in such cases. In the case of both Brian Harrison and Robert Alcock, although both were present at the ground and saw scenes which were obviously distressing and such as to cause grave worry and concern, their perception of the actual consequences of the disaster to those to whom they were related was again gradual. The reason was that the police acted negligently. The primary difficulty here was that of establishing the foreseeability of the injury which the plaintiff suffered rather than the proximity of her relationship to the defendant, who owed her the same duty as he owed to any other users of the highway. View the full article today Register to read this article [1998] SLJS 121. This may be convenient but in fact the label is misleading if and to the extent that it is assumed to lead to a conclusion that they have more in common than the factual similarity of the medium through which the injury is sustained - that of an assault upon the nervous system of the plaintiff through witnessing or taking part in an event - and that they will, on account of this factor, provide a single common test for the circumstances which give rise to a duty of care. So I am of the opinion that in addition to reasonable foreseeability liability for injury in the particular form of psychiatric illness must depend in addition upon a requisite relationship of proximity between the claimant and the party said to owe the duty. In another judgment (Frost v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1999] 2 AC 455), Lord Hoffman said that “the search for principle was called off [in Alcock]”. It is a useful illustration of the extreme difficulty of separating the compensatable injury arising from the presence of the plaintiff at the scene of an accident from the non-compensatable consequences flowing from the simple fact that the accident has occurred, but it is of little assistance otherwise, save for a hint in the judgment of Lord Denning M.R. The psychiatric injury must be caused by a shocking event. 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. The source of the shock and distress in all these cases is the affectionate relationship which existed between the plaintiff and the victim and the traumatic effect of the negligence is equally foreseeable, given that relationship, however the relationship arises. 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. Only one of the plaintiffs, who succeeded before Hidden J., namely Brian Harrison, was at the ground. Case: Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1991] UKHL 5 Secondary victim claims: Is the tide turning? In the second place, a television programme such as that transmitted from Hillsborough involves cameras at different viewpoints showing scenes all of which no one individual would see, edited pictures and a commentary superimposed. The physical proximity of the pursuer to the point of collision was outside the area in which the deceased could reasonably have contemplated any injury to her and that answered both the question of whether there was reasonable foresight and whether there was any relationship with the deceased inferring a duty of care. in Hambrook v. Stokes Brothers [1925] 1 K.B. The fact that the injury suffered is psychiatric and is caused by the impact on the mind of becoming involved in personal danger or in scenes of horror and destruction makes no difference. 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. That can affect those closely connected with that person in various ways. 2. That simple test, described by Lord Atkin in his classical exposition in Donoghue v. Stevenson [1932] AC 562, 580 as "demonstrably too wide" - as indeed it clearly was - was, however, refined by him into the more restricted "neighbour" test which introduced, in addition to the element of reasonable foreseeability, the essential but illusive concept of "proximity" or "directness." No case prior to the hearing before Hidden J. from which these appeals arise has countenanced an award of damages for injuries suffered where there was not at the time of the event a degree of physical propinquity between the plaintiff and the event caused by the defendant's breach of duty to the primary victim nor where the shock sustained by the plaintiff was not either contemporaneous with the event or separated from it by a relatively short interval of time. Steyn’s introductory observations in his speech in R(S) v Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police [2004] 1 WLR 2196, which concerned DNA, emphasised the public benefits in law enforcement agencies using new technology at [1]- [2]: “1. In these circumstances the defendants could readily have foreseen that he would be horrified and shocked by the failure of the rope and the consequent accident which he had no power to prevent. The leading speech was delivered by Lord Wilberforce. For this purpose the accident is to be taken to include its immediate aftermath, which in McLoughlin's case was held to cover the scene at the hospital which was experienced by the plaintiff some two hours after the accident. 70 after Alcock. Policy considerations such as this could, I cannot help feeling, be much better accommodated if the rights of persons injured in this way were to be enshrined in and limited by legislation as they have been in the Australian statute law to which my noble and learned friend, Lord Ackner, has referred. In my judgment, the necessary proximity was lacking in their cases too, but I also agree with my noble and learned friend, Lord Keith of Kinkel, that there is also lacking the necessary element of reasonable foreseeability. It was brought by police officers on duty against the Chief Constable who was said to have been vicariously liable for the disaster. In the first place a defendant could normally anticipate that in accordance with current television broadcasting guidelines shocking pictures of persons suffering and dying would not be transmitted. 430, where the plaintiff was herself directly involved as a victim in the accident in which her husband was killed. Nevertheless, except in those cases which were based upon some ancient and now outmoded concepts of the quasi-proprietorial rights of husbands over their wives, parents over their children or employers over their menial servants, the common law has, in general, declined to entertain claims for such consequential injuries from third parties save possibly where loss has arisen from the necessary performance of a legal duty imposed on such party by the injury to the victim. Constable of the South Yorkshire Police) (Respondent) (Consolidated Appeals) JUDGMENT. It was argued on their behalf that the law has never excluded strangers to the victim from claiming for nervous shock resulting from the accident. This case arose from the disaster … Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle . 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. * Enter a valid Journal (must Frost v Chief Constable of Yorkshire Police [1997] 3 WLR 1194. This seems to me to be a very different situation from that in which a relative goes within a short time after an accident to rescue or comfort a victim. 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 any event, there is in many cases, as for instance cases of direct physical injury in a highway accident, an almost necessary coalescence of the twin elements of foreseeability and proximity, the one flowing from the other. Was proximity of perception satisfied by spectators watching the incident on television? that no duty was owed to those who are nowhere near the scene of an accident when it occurs. The means by which the shock is caused constitutes a third control, although in these appeals I find it difficult to separate this from proximity. (Appellants) and. 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. Had she sustained bodily injury from the incursion there could never have been the slightest doubt about the defendant's liability and the fact that what brought about the injury was not an actual contact but the imminent threat to her personally posed by the defendant's negligence could make no difference to the result. Equally, I would not exclude the possibility envisaged by my noble and learned friend, Lord Ackner, of a successful claim, given circumstances of such horror as would be likely to traumatise even the most phlegmatic spectator, by a mere bystander. It cannot, I think, be accounted for by saying that such consequences cannot reasonably be foreseen. 10 Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1992] AC 310. The same is true of other plaintiffs who were not present at the ground and who lost brothers, or in one case a grandson. That cannot, I think, be attributable to some arbitrary but unenunciated rule of "policy" which draws a line as the outer boundary of the area of duty. Judgment The Times Law Reports Cited authorities 31 Cited in 166 Precedent Map Related. 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. Case: Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1991] UKHL 5 Secondary victim claims: Is the tide turning? Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police concerned sixteen unsuccessful claims for psychiatric injury (PI) resulting from the Hillsborough disaster. In support of this proposition the plaintiffs relied on Dooley v. Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd. and Chadwick v. British Railways Board as well as upon the following passage from the judgment of Atkin L.J. Until the events of this case Sir Cliff was still pursuing his career even though he was ... Approved Judgment Sir Cliff Richard OBE v … Brian Harrison lost two brothers, while Robert Alcock lost a brother-in-law and identified the body at the mortuary at midnight. The principal interest of the case lies in the view expressed by Kennedy J., apparently following an earlier, unreported decision of Wright J., that illness caused by fear for the safety of anyone other than the plaintiff herself was not capable of grounding liability - a view clearly now unsustainable in the light of subsequent authority. 549, the plaintiff saw her injured husband at the hospital to which he had been taken in severe pain before and between his undergoing a series of emergency operations, and the next day stayed with him in the intensive care unit and thought he was going to die. Or it may be asked whether injury of the type with which these appeals are concerned can ever be considered to be reasonably foreseeable where the relationship between the plaintiff and the primary victim is more remote than that of an established category. The failure of the law in general to compensate for injuries sustained by persons unconnected with the event precipitated by a defendant's negligence must necessarily import the lack of any legal duty owed by the defendant to such persons. 549, 552, 578. In my opinion, the necessary proximity cannot be said to exist where the elements of immediacy, closeness of time and space, and direct visual or aural perception are absent. 421-423: Lord Bridge of Harwich, with whom Lord Scarman agreed, at p. 431D-E, appears to have rested his finding of liability simply on the test of reasonable foreseeability of psychiatric illness affecting the plaintiff as a result of the consequences of the road accident, at pp. Alcock and Others v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police. 141, Kennedy J. Appeal from – Alcock and Others v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police CA 31-May-1991 The defendant policed a football match at which many people died. For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII To watch the hearing, please visit: Supreme Court Website ( 12 Jul 2017 morning session ) ( 12 Jul 2017 afternoon session ) Leave a reply on "New Judgment: Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police [2018] UKSC 4" She had no apprehension of injury to herself but simply sustained a nervous shock as a result of the noise of the collision. To use Lord Wilberforce's words in McLoughlin's case [1983] 1 AC 410, 422-423: Grief, sorrow, deprivation and the necessity for caring for loved ones who have suffered injury or misfortune must, I think, be considered as ordinary and inevitable incidents of life which, regardless of individual susceptibilities, must be sustained without compensation. 314E et seq. Lord Ackner . Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1991] Facts. This is, of course, fully recognised by the appellants, the plaintiffs in these actions, whose claims for damages to compensate them for their psychiatric illnesses are based upon the allegation that it was the defendant's negligence, that is to say his breach of his duty of care owed to them as well as to those who died or were injured in controlling the crowds at the stadium, which caused them to suffer their illnesses. It is customary to classify cases in which damages are claimed for injury occasioned in this way under a single generic label as cases of "liability for nervous shock." I doubt very much, for instance, whether King v. Phillips [1953] 1 Q.B. POLICE)(RESPONDENT) Lord TemplemanLord Bridge of HarwichLord GriffithsLord Goff of ChieveleyLord Browne-Wilkinson. If there exists a sufficient degree of proximity to sustain a claim for damages for nervous shock, why it may be justifiably be asked, does not that proximity also support that perhaps more easily foreseeable loss which the plaintiff may suffer as a direct result of the death or injury from which the shock arises. A close tie of love and affection to a primary victim, Witness the event with their own unaided senses, Proximity to the event or its immediate aftermath. It is, for instance, readily conceivable that a parent may suffer injury, whether physical or psychiatric, as a result of witnessing a negligent act which places his or her child in extreme jeopardy but from which, in the event, the child escapes unharmed. gave judgment allowing the defendant's appeals in the cases of the nine formerly successful plaintiffs and rejecting the appeals of the six unsuccessful ones. But where such convergence is not self evident, the question of proximity requires separate consideration. 73; and at first instance inRedenaktiebologet v.Transatlantik [1991] 3 All E.R. 386G-387A. Alcock and others v Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police CIVIL. Facts 141, if the plaintiff's child had not, as she did in fact, suffered any injury at all. It is, for instance, readily conceivable that a parent may suffer injury, whether physical or psychiatric, as a result of witnessing a negligent act which places his or her child in extreme jeopardy but from which, in the event, the child escapes unharmed. Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1992] 1 AC 310, RESPONDENT: Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, BENCH:   Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Ackner, Lord Oliver of Aylmerton, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle and Lord Lowry. The closeness of the tie would, however, require to be proved by a plaintiff, though no doubt being capable of being presumed in appropriate cases. I refer once again to a passage in the speech of Lord Wilberforce in McLoughlin v. O'Brian, at p. 422: Lord Wilberforce expressed the view, at p. 422H, that a "strict test of proximity by sight or hearing should be applied by all courts." 428, 429. Cases in which damages are claimed for directly inflicted injuries of this nature may present greater difficulties of proof but they are not, in their essential elements, any different from cases where the damages claimed arise from direct physical injury and they present no very difficult problems of analysis where the plaintiff has himself been directly involved in the accident from which the injury is said to arise. It is common knowledge that such ties exist, and reasonably foreseeable that those bound by them may in certain circumstances be at real risk of pyschiatric illness if the loved one is injured or put in peril. Whilst the English law of tort is generally favourable towards the psychiatric damage claims of primary victims, claims from secondary victims are treated in a much more restrictive manner. The nervous shock resulted from the plaintiff's fear that the falling load would injure or kill some of his fellow workmen. “‘Shock’, in the context of this cause of action, involves the sudden appreciation by sight or sound of a horrifying event, which violently agitates the mind. The law has developed incrementally. But if that be so, the limitation must be based upon policy rather than upon logic for the suffering and shock of a wife or mother at witnessing the death of her husband or son is just as immediate, just as great and just as foreseeable whether the accident be due to the victim's own or to another's negligence and if the claim is based, as it must be, on the combination of proximity and foreseeability, there is certainly no logical reason why a remedy should be denied in such a case. The cases linked on your profile facilitate Casemine's artificial intelligence engine in recommending you to potential clients who might be interested in availing your services for similar matters. 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. This case arose from the disaster that occurred on 15th April 1989, when a football match was arranged to be played at the Hillsborough stadium, Sheffield between Liverpool and Nottingham forest football club. Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire was a case where the actings of the police were negligent by reason of the opening of the pens, thereby creating danger to the spectators who then entered them in excessive numbers. Alcock & ors v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire AC 310 House of Lords This case arose from the disaster that occurred at Hillsborough football stadium in Sheffield in the FA cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in 1989. The three elements are (1) the class of persons whose claims should be recognised; (2) the proximity of such persons to the accident - in time and space; (3) the means by which the shock has been caused. Alcock v.Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1992] 1 A.C. 310. in Heaven v. Pender (1883) 11 Q.B.D. 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. PETITIONER: Alcock. The cases varied between those present or not present at the scene, or those with close relatives present. 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. 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