Psychiatric damage rules apply where there is no physical injury. To succeed in the present appeals the plaintiffs seek to extend the boundaries of this cause of action by: (1) removing any restrictions on the categories of persons who may sue; (2) extending the means by which the shock is caused, so that it includes viewing the simultaneous broadcast on television of the incident which caused the shock; (3) modifying the present requirement that the aftermath must be "immediate.". The South Yorkshire police force, which was responsible for crowd control at the match, allowed an excessively large number of intending spectators to enter the ground at the Leppings Lane end, an area reserved for Liverpool supporters. The traumatic effect on, for instance, a mother on the death of her child is as readily foreseeable in a case where the circumstances are described to her by an eye witness at the inquest as it is in a case where she learns of it at a hospital immediately after the event. Therefore events witnessed on television, for example, will not succeed. Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire House of Lords. 73; and at first instance inRedenaktiebologet v.Transatlantik [1991] 3 All E.R. Study Resources. The case is thus a good illustration of the coalescence of the two elements of reasonable foreseeability and proximity, but otherwise it affords little assistance in establishing any criterion for the degree of proximity which would establish the duty of care, save that it implies necessity for a closer degree of physical propinquity to the event than has been thought necessary in subsequent cases. The actions came on for trial before Hidden J. on 19 June 1990, and he gave judgment on 31 July 1990, ante, pp. 65 and Ravenscroft v. Rederiaktieb laget Transatlantic [1991] 3 All E.R. Nor can it rationally be made to rest upon such injury being without the area of reasonable foreseeability. This case raises novel and important issues … They crammed into pens 3 and 4, below the West Stand, and in the resulting crush 95 people were killed and over 400 physically injured. The trial judge having held that the injury complained of was not reasonably foreseeable, his decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal [1981] Q.B. 40 (see particularly the judgment of Lord Pearson, at p. 44). In these circumstances the defendants could readily have foreseen that he would be horrified and shocked by the failure of the rope and the consequent accident which he had no power to prevent. Citation of a principle so familiar may justly be described as trite but it is, I think, of critical importance in the context of the instant appeals. My Lords, the litigation with which these appeals are concerned arose out of the disaster at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, which occurred on 15 April 1989. Lord Oliver distinguished between primary and secondary victims to clarify the law and establish mechanisms to scrutinise secondary victims claims. University. Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1991] Facts. Lord Oliver made one of the first attempts to distinguish between secondary and primary victims in tort law. View the full article today Register to read this article The Law of Torts (LAWS212) Academic year. change. Later, he said, at p. 423: My Lords, although Lord Wilberforce in McLoughlin v. O'Brian did not close the door to shock coming from the sight of simultaneous television I do not consider that a claimant who watches a normal television programme which displays events as they happen satisfies the test of proximity. On that basis it is open to serious doubt whether Hevican v. Ruane [1991] 3 All E.R. Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire was a case where the actings of the police were negligent by reason of the opening of the pens, thereby creating danger to the spectators who then entered them in excessive numbers. The trauma is created in part by such confirmation and in part by the linking in the mind of the plaintiff of that confirmation to the previously absorbed image. This case represents a further stage in the long and unhappy dispute between the In neither of these cases was there any evidence of particularly close ties of love or affection with the brothers or brother-in-law. My Lords, speaking for myself, I see no logic and no virtue in seeking to lay down as a matter of "policy" categories of relationship within which claims may succeed and without which they are doomed to failure in limine. ... Robert Alcock … This chapter considers the landmark decision in Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police 1 AC 310 concerning liability for psychiatric injury, or ‘nervous shock’. Judgment The Times Law Reports Cited authorities 31 Cited in 166 Precedent Map Related. HICKS AND OTHERS(APPELLANTS) v. WRIGHT(SUED AS CHIEF CONSTABLE OF THE SOUTH YORKSHIRE. From Wikipedia Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police 1 AC 310 is a leading English tort law case on liability for nervous shock (psychiatric injury). LORD TEMPLEMAN. The "control mechanisms" were "more or less arbitrary conditions which a plaintiff had to satisfy and which were intended to keep liability within what was regarded as acceptable bounds". White v Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police was a 1998 case in English tort law in which police officers who were present in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster sued for post traumatic stress disorder. In the context of the instant appeals the cases of the former type are not particularly helpful, except to the extent that they yield a number of illuminating dicta, for they illustrate only a directness of relationship (and thus a duty) which is almost self-evident from a mere recital of the facts. So I am of the opinion that in addition to reasonable foreseeability liability for injury in the particular form of psychiatric illness must depend in addition upon a requisite relationship of proximity between the claimant and the party said to owe the duty. Contents 1 Facts Had she sustained bodily injury from the incursion there could never have been the slightest doubt about the defendant's liability and the fact that what brought about the injury was not an actual contact but the imminent threat to her personally posed by the defendant's negligence could make no difference to the result. Abstract. Although it is convenient to describe the plaintiff in such a case as a "secondary" victim, that description must not be permitted to obscure the absolute essentiality of establishing a duty owed by the defendant directly to him - a duty which depends not only upon the reasonable foreseeability of damage of the type which has in fact occurred to the particular plaintiff but also upon the proximity or directness of the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant. Brian Harrison lost two brothers, while Robert Alcock lost a brother-in-law and identified the body at the mortuary at midnight. Lord Ackner . Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1991] Facts. In this case, the claimants argued that the police had acted negligently and in contravention of their duty of care owed. Equally obviously, the foreseeability of such injury to such a person will be more difficult to establish than similar injury to a spouse or parent of the primary victim. 3. 599 on the rather different grounds (Stephenson L.J.) Policy considerations such as this could, I cannot help feeling, be much better accommodated if the rights of persons injured in this way were to be enshrined in and limited by legislation as they have been in the Australian statute law to which my noble and learned friend, Lord Ackner, has referred. He continued, at pp. The closeness of the tie would, however, require to be proved by a plaintiff, though no doubt being capable of being presumed in appropriate cases. (241(2017)DLT 319), Parliament’s Power To Legislate On The State Subject- Constitutional Provisions And Analysis, Malak Singh Etc v. State of Punjab & Haryana & Ors (1981) SCR (2) 311. It was his view that liability should, as a matter of policy, determine at the relationship of parent or spouse and should be restricted to persons present at or at the immediate aftermath of the incident from which injury arose. It is customary to classify cases in which damages are claimed for injury occasioned in this way under a single generic label as cases of "liability for nervous shock." Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police concerned sixteen unsuccessful claims for psychiatric injury (PI) resulting from the Hillsborough disaster. 549, 578-586. What constitutes the immediate aftermath of an accident must necessarily depend upon the surrounding circumstances. COPOC (A. P. ) AND OTHERS (A. P. )(APPELLANTS), (SUED AS CHIEF CONSTABLE OF THE SOUTH YORKSHIRE, ALCOCK (A. P. ) AND OTHERS (A. P. )(APPELLANTS), WRIGHT(SUED AS CHIEF CONSTABLE OF THE SOUTH YORKSHIRE, Lord Keith of KinkelLord AcknerLord Oliver of AylmertonLord Jauncey of TullichettleLord Lowry. Of the four plaintiffs who were unsuccessful before the judge, one who lost his brother-in-law was at the ground, one who lost her fiance saw the disaster on television, another who lost her brother heard initial news while shopping and more details on the wireless during the evening and a third who lost a grandson heard of the disaster on the wireless and later saw a recorded television programme. To essay any comprehensive definition would be a fruitless exercise. Nor can it be the mere suddenness or unexpectedness of the event, for the news brought by a policeman hours after the event may be as sudden and unexpected to the recipient as the occurrence of the event is to the spectator present at the scene. But, as I shall endeavour to show, the law in this area is not wholly logical and whilst having every sympathy with the plaintiffs, whose suffering is not in doubt and is not to be underrated, I cannot for my part see any pressing reason of policy for taking this further step along a road which must ultimately lead to virtually limitless liability. My Lords, for these reasons I would dismiss each of these appeals. I will deal with those three elements seriatim. Mr. Woodward for the defendant relies upon the opinion expressed by Lord Wilberforce supported by Lord Edmund-Davies in McLoughlin v. O'Brian [1983] 1 AC 410, 420F, that foreseeability does not of itself, and automatically, lead to a duty of care: He also relies on similar views expressed by Gibbs C.J. (Appellants) and. It must, I think, be from these elements that the essential requirement of proximity is to be deduced, to which has to be added the reasonable foreseeability on the part of the defendant that in that combination of circumstances there was a real risk of injury of the type sustained by the particular plaintiff as a result of his or her concern for the primary victim. Copoc and Others (A.P.) This may be convenient but in fact the label is misleading if and to the extent that it is assumed to lead to a conclusion that they have more in common than the factual similarity of the medium through which the injury is sustained - that of an assault upon the nervous system of the plaintiff through witnessing or taking part in an event - and that they will, on account of this factor, provide a single common test for the circumstances which give rise to a duty of care. 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