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Construction law - Essay Example

It must be emphasized that the loss or injury suffered by the claimant must be of consequential nature. In other words, the loss must be the result of the damaged or defective nature of the property and not the damage to the property itself. When a party has acted negligently which results in a defective property, there is only pure economic loss which is not actionable under tort laws. They may only sue based on contractual rights and obligations. But when such damaged property has caused actual injuries to persons or damages to other properties, then it is now a consequential loss which gives rise to liabilities for negligence under the English law on tort. English jurisprudence has wavered on this issue starting from the landmark case of Donoghue v Stevenson ([1932] All ER Rep 1; [1932] AC 562) where the House of Lords established the proximity rule in defining the existence of duty of care and the concomitant liability for negligence. ...
Donoghue did not buy the drink herself; it was her companion who ordered and paid for the fateful drink. The Anns v Merton London Borough Coucil ([1977] 2 All ER 90) case is an epitome of the dynamic character of UK common law. The short-lived Anns test was used as basis for the determination of liabilities for negligence until it was totally abandoned in the case of Murphy v Brentwood District Council. The Anns doctrine requires a case to pass its two-stage test, namely, (1) whether or not the proximity or neighbourhood between the claimant and the

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defendant is sufficient to establish a duty of care between the parties; and (2) if a duty of care is thus established, whether or not there exist circumstances which would limit the scope, if not totally negate the liability of the defendant. In 1990, the House of Lords admitted its mistake in deciding the Anns v Merton London Borough Coucil case and resolved to reverse it in the case of Murphy v Brentwood District Council (3 All ER 90). In the words of Lord Mackay of Clashfern, the Anns test is abandoned “in so far as it affirmed a private law duty of care to avoid damage to property which causes present or imminent danger to the health and safety of owners, or occupiers, resting upon local authorities in relation to their function of supervising compliance with building byelaws or regulations.” Lord Keith of Kinkel went further and explained that, “Liability under the Anns decision is postulated upon the existence of a present or imminent danger to health or safety. But considering that the loss involved in incurring expenditure to avert the danger is pure economic loss, there would seem to be no logic in confining the remedy to cases where such danger exists.” In essence, the Murphy decision


On the present UK tort law, it is said that, “Generally, the damage necessary to sustain a claim in negligence must be actual physical injury to person or property other than the property which is the product of the negligence itself.” (Keating, 1995)  It may seem absurd why the law requires damaged and defective properties to actually cause injuries and further damages before allowing a claim for negligence…
Author : pdietrich
Construction law essay
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