First Principles of Business Law

The tort of Negligence

4. The existence of a duty of care 

4.1. How liability for careless conduct causing harm is limited




Accepting that it is the policy of the law to restrict liability in Negligence for careless conduct that causes harm, what are the mechanisms that provide the necessary limitations?  The answer is that liability only exists when the harm is caused by a breach of a 'duty of care' existing between a wrongdoer and the person harmed.  For a duty of care to arise, two requirements must be satisfied. 

  • The first is whether or not  the harm caused by the wrongdoer's careless conduct was foreseeable.  The nature and extent of 'foreseeability of harm' is explained in more detail in the next section of this module.
  • The second requirement is what is referred to as the existence of a 'duty situation or relationship' between the wrongdoer and the person harmed.  There are many such recognised relationships and they will be explained in a later section of this module.  In addition, there may be new situations in which more general principles are applied to dtermine whether or not a duty relationship or situation exists. 
Page 1
Go to the next topic Go to the previous topic Go to the list of topics Choose another module