The Principle of Foreseeability and Proximity by Lord Atkin



Inking V. Philliphs (1952), (K. Abbott, K. Wardley, B. Law 2001 taxi over a boy’s cycle. The boy who was not on the bicycle screamed. This mother (P) heard the scream and on looking out of the window saw the crushed bicycle but not her son. As a result, she suffered shock which made her ill. She failed in her action against D because it was held that a driver could only reasonably foresee that his carelessness would affect other road users and not persons in houses. He did not, therefore, owe a duty of care to P. In Tutton V. Wather (1985) (Ibid) P kept bees on land near D’s form D had a crop of oilseed rape which, when in flower, is particularly, attractive to bees. Despite clear written instructions to the contrary, D sprayed his crop while it was in flower, with a pesticide that was total to bees. His defence to P’s action was that no duty was owed because he was doing on his own land something that he was entitled to and that the bees came on the land without permission and were basically trespassers, the judge did not accept these arguments. It was held that the duty was owed under the neighbour principle and it had been broken. P, therefore, received compensation for the loss of his bee colony. The principle of foreseeability and proximity as laid down by lord ATKIN was again affirmed in Home office V. Dorset Yacht Co. Ltd. (Justice, P. Singh, how of farts 23rd edition) in which case some borstal trainees escaped one night due to the negligence of the Borstal officers who contrary to orders were in bed. The trainees caused damage to a yacht, the owner of which sued the home office for damages.