Case Brief Wiki

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A block of flats to which the claimants were tenants suffered from a structural defect because of foundations which were too shallow. The council was responsible for inspecting the flats during their construction. In 1972, the block started to collapse.


Did the council owe a duty of care?

Is the test for duty of care sufficient?


House of Lords held that the council did owe a duty of care, and established a two stage test for duty of care which was later overruled by Caparo.


The council's failure to check the foundation of the flats during construction foreseeably resulted in the structural defect. 

There were no policy considerations to prevent the duty being owed.


A duty of care is established using a two stage test. 

1) There must be a relationship of proximity between the claimant and defendant, such that the harm caused by the defendant's action was reasonably foreseeable.

2) There must be no policy consideration which restrict or extinguish the duty.

This test was later overruled by Caparo's three stage test.