In the United Kingdom, the duty of care refers to the legal obligation by an individual charged with a particular responsibility to exercise a standard of reasonable care in all that they do. The importance of the law cannot be overemphasized since it protects individuals and the society from possible exploitation resulting from carelessness. It is therefore a law that any individual charged with a responsibility to perform a certain role must ensure that they perform it with due diligence and care such that it does not cause harm to others.
An example is an architect and engineer charged with the responsibility of constructing a house. It is expected that these individuals are experts and should therefore construct a building that will be in a position to bear the approximated weight. Should the building fall and cause damage to people and property, the engineer and architect should be held liable at common law. This seeks to ensure high standards of professionalism are exercised by professionals who have been charged with a certain role (Von Bar, 2004). In our case here there are individuals, one, Pugwash College which is an institution that trains nurses on various roles. Tracy, the teacher who had been charged with the responsibility of being with the students now. Donna was the teacher who was busy taking care of her baby at the time when the accident occurred.
The pupils were playing outside when Bob caught Sally with a crayon in the eye. These nursery school kids were enjoying themselves now. There was a commotion caused by the ensuing squabble. Donna the class teacher ran very fast to take control of the situation leaving her baby, Martin who fell and broke his two legs. Donna also tripped and fell over Bob causing severe damage to him and to her.
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The law of Torts in the United Kingdom defines that for a case to go through and as such attract a penalty for the defendant there must be proof of the following;
Causation must be established. This is the exact cause of the harm that occurred. It must not be from other reasons other than what is being defended.
It must be established that the harm is a direct result of the defendant’s actions at that point in time. For instance if Bob did not cause any harm to Sally even after catching her with a crayon, and then the teacher came and tripped over Sally causing harm to her, such a case would not attract a penalty in a court of law. This is because the harm is not a direct result of the crayon accident. This is just an example (Steele, 2007).
Another example can be given of a student who is beaten in school by his or her class teacher and then he goes home and reports to his parents who then instead of taking appropriate action decide to beat the student too therefore causing harm on the child, there is no case against the teacher since it cannot be established how the harm links with the teacher. In this case the parent will lose the case.
In this case, Bob can be charged in a court of law, save for his age and the mere fact that he is still a minor. This is because he causes harm after catching Sally on her eye. He therefore can be charged to this extent. All the following accidents cannot be linked to him although he caused the commotion. Donna, the teacher should have been careful when she ran extremely fast and tripped on Bob. She also left her baby Martin alone to attend to the case. These cases are therefore very separate from Bob who can only answer charges relating to the crayon accident.
It should also be made possible that a relationship be showed of proximity between the defendant and the claimant. The distance between the claimant and the defendant must be established at the time of the particular case. One cannot be implied as guilty of an offence if the case does not prove reasonableness regarding the distance between the two parties (McCorquodale, 2010).
The idea of proximity protects the defendant from a case of manipulation by the claimant who could be aggressively seeking compensation from the defendant. In this case, he might be suing out of his or he malicious intentions and not because the defendant actually caused harm to them. Such a case could be very complicated and as such the proximity definition.
A good example is if a careless driver drives carelessly and hits a tree. It then emerges that he is sued by independent pedestrians who were hit elsewhere. There is no proximity in this case and thus such a case cannot proceed as breach of due care. In our case here, there is close proximity and therefore all factors holding constant in the instance that Bob was not a minor, then he ought to compensate Sally for the harm caused on her eye.
It must also be shown that it is fair, just and reasonable to impose liability in a particular case. Fairness means that there is no case of malicious intent in the case. It means that the defendant actually breached the duty of due care and responsibility in what he was doing.
It must also be reasonable to impose the case. This means that the case may be dropped if the judges so feel that the case does not make sense (Oliphant, 2009).
It must also be just to impose liability on the defendant. This means that the defendant did not have cases transferred to him without his having committed a particular offence. If he or she was not careless in any way, then the law exempts him from the case.
Pugwash College is the college that is training the nurses. The college decided to offer free nursery care to kids of local residents so that this acts as a training ground for the nurses. Pugwash College therefore owes a duty of care and responsibility to the society. It must therefore ensure the kids they sponsor are well taken care of while in their hands. The parent therefore is separated from responsibility at the time when the child is in school.
The school therefore is to be held liable for the case of Bob that he caught sally’s eyes with a crayon. Sally’s parents can sue the school for the harm caused on their kid. The school will be held responsible for negligence and is supposed to compensate Sally’s parents. The school may argue that the administrators were not present at the time of the accident but fact remains that the teacher is an agent of the school and therefore the two are inseparable in the face of the law. It is the responsibility of the school to ensure the people employed are qualified to check on the kids. Tracy was a first year student who was not a professional enough to take care of the kids. This therefore shows that the school did not exercise due care in its quest to take care of the kids. This therefore resulted into the accident that saw Sally being harmed. There was a breach of duty by the school in this case.
The harm is foreseeably seen as a direct result of the schools breach of duty since if it had engaged enough people to take care of the kids while they were playing, the accident could not have occurred. This may be compared to the case of Muir V Glasgow Corporation; kids had gone out on a Sunday school trip. The Sunday school teacher pleaded with the manager of a café owned by Glasgow Corporation to allow them to have their picnic inside the area. A young girl Muir was scalded by hot tea being carried by attendants in the tea room. Glasgow was sued by the girl’s parents for breaching the duty of care which they owed. The court argued that even though the manageress owed a duty of care to everyone in the area of premises, this did not extend to the Sunday school (Wiener, 1994). The school was supposed to take precautions for its staying within. Tracy was keeping watch over the kids while they were playing. It is therefore expected that she exercises due care in her work. She was also a student at this point in time and as such not yet a professional. She cannot therefore be held liable for professional negligence since she is not a professional in the first place. She was supervising the kids when the commotion broke out resulting in the series of accidents. It cannot be established therefore if Tracy was not careful in her work since the event of Bob catching Sally’s eye takes a very short moment which Tracy could not have controlled. Even if she was a professional, it was difficult for her to have control of the situation. At the same time, the group of playing children was big enough such that it was difficult to control. Such a group of kids required more than one supervisor and this was the responsibility of the school to hire such. It therefore does not make sense to hold Tracy liable at law for negligence since she could not have prevented this. If charged in a court of law, the court has a right to hold her innocent and set her free.
Donna is the class tutor and in this case she cannot be held liable for the case of Bob causing harm to Sally’s eye. She was only going to answer to the case of distress when she forgot her own daughter and therefore this led to her breaking her limbs. She can however be charged for negligence on her own kid. She was careless since she was not supposed to be changing her kids napkins while in that position. She should have taken care of the environment first and therefore she is liable for the offence (Donnelly, 2010). The below case may be compared to this one. Birmingham Waterworks Company was supposed to lay down water pipes. In the process the law required it to fix a fire plug in every street and the keys of the fire plug be given to the caretakers of the engine house. The company fixed a fireplug near Mr. Blyth’s house in a hydrant. During winter, a severe flood resulted due to the ensuing frost causing damage to the house. Mr. Blyth thus launched charges against the water company as a result Baron Alderson thus determined that negligence is the omission to engage in something which should be done by a reasonable man. The judge thus maintained that the Company could have been liable had it not done what should be done on reasonable grounds. However since the company had done all this, they were however oblivious of the fact that a frost would soon occur. They therefore cannot be charged for negligence.
In the same way, Donna cannot be charged for negligence since she was unaware that she would trip in the event of trying to control the situation. This exempts her from paying for the damages that resulted from the accident.
In Donoghue v Glasgow, Donoghue boarded a train in Glasgow. She was headed to Paisley. She later took a seat with her friend in the Bethany café in the town of Wellmeadow place. The café owner Francis Minchella then approached and Donoghue’s companion ordered a pear and ice cream for them to drink. The owner brought the order but poured some contents of ginger beer into the ice-cream which Donoghue consumed. The remainder of the drink was poured into a tumbler by Donoghues friend. It was later reported that some snail contents that were decomposing entered the tumbler (Magnus, 2003). Donoghue was later diagnosed of suffering from gastroenteritis. Donoghue later sued the water manufacturer, David Stevenson and claimed damages amounting to 500 pounds. Donoghue argued that he was the manufacturer of the ginger beer that had led to his illness. The case was settled out of court and the ensuing proceedings are unknown.
Arguments on legal ground have it that there was no causation here. It was important that the claimant proves causation that his illness was a direct result of taking ginger beer. It is difficult to prove this and thus the case may not have legal backing. The case of Donna also does not have the causation basis since it cannot be established that the tripping was intentional and thus any one pursuing such a case is likely to lose.