“Whenever the Courts Draw a Line to Mark Out the Bounds of Duty, They Do It as a Matter of Policy so as to Limit the Responsibility of the Defendant” (Spartan Steel V Martin & Co. Per Lord Denning, Mr) Discuss the Above

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Policy is an important consideration for the courts to decide the duty owed by defendants. Lord Bridge suggested that it should be fair, just and reasonable when imposing duty on defendant. It is thought that the imposition of a duty solely base on foreseeability of damage is not desirable. As Winfield and Jolowicz suggests that “the court must decide not simply whether there is or is not a duty, but whether there should or should not be one.” For the purpose of this essay, I will discuss how policy can influence the imposition of duty. The most important policy concern has always been the “floodgates argument”. This is when judges are reluctant to impose duty on the defendants because the judges fear that it will “open the floodgates of litigation” and unlimited claims can arise out of a one incident. It is considered to be not fair, just and reasonable to impose duty on defendants disproportionate to his fault. It is well illustrated in Spartan Steel v Martin & Co, where the claimant claimed the loss of potential profit which he would have made if the defendant did not negligently damage the cable which provided electricity to the claimant’s factory. However, the courts found that there was no duty owed by the defendant as Lord Denning stated that impose duty on defendant in such circumstance will lead to “no end of claims” . The courts sometimes can reluctant to impose duty on professionals such as police force. It is argue that the effectiveness of the police will be undermined when they are working with restrictive rules. One example is Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, Miss Hill’s mother claimed that the Constable of West Yorkshire failed to apprehend the murder at an earlier stage which subsequently led to her daughter’s death. Lord Keith dismissed this action and stated that “In some instances the imposition of liability may lead to the
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