BREACH OF STATUTORY DUTY. A tort in its own right. A complex area of law involving number of propositions. . Claims arise in tort for breach of duties created by statute to deal with a wide range of issues, often involving health and safety Note the overlap with employers’ liability
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A complex area of law involving number of propositions.
Claims arise in tort for breach of duties created by statute to deal with a wide range of issues, often involving health and safety
Note the overlap with employers’ liability
Heavy emphasis throughout on statutory interpretation
Claimant must prove
the statute was intended to create civil liability.
the statutory duty was owed to the individual claimant;
the statute imposed the duty on the defendant;
the defendant was in breach of the duty;
the claimant suffered damage as a result, which was of a type contemplated by the statute.
The statute was intended to create civil liability
Statute in question would not normally be concerned with civil claims
Courts take various factors into account when deciding upon the intention of Parliament
the general context of the statute?
the precise nature of the statutory provisions?
The statutory duty was owed to the individual claimant
Cases turn on their own facts
Hewett v Alf Brown’s Transport 
Maguire v Hartland & Wolff plc 
PRP Architects v Reid 
The statutory duty was imposed on the particular defendant
Only if the statute imposes a duty on the defendant can a civil claim be maintained
Majrowski v Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Trust 
The defendant was in breach of the statutory duty
Note possible reversal of burden of proof – to the advantage of the claimant
“must” or “shall” usually mean strict liability
Courts frequently lean against the imposition of strict liability unless the statute specifically states that strict liability will apply.
In Nimmo v Alexander Cowan and Sons  the House of Lords held that ‘reasonably practicable’, used in various statutes, required the employer to demonstrate that he or she had taken such precautions as were reasonably practicable or that precautions were impracticable.
Damage must be of a type which the statute contemplated
There can only be a claim for breach of statutory duty if the damage which was suffered was within the contemplation of the objects of the statute.
Test to be applied
Ordinary test of reasonable foresight appliesin claims for breach of statutory duty.
As long as the damage is of a type that was reasonably foreseeable, the extent of the damage does not need to be foreseeable. In Corr v IBC Vehicles  EWCA Civ 331, the defendant was liable for a suicide, where the deceased had become depressed following injuries sustained as a result of a breach of duty. It was held by the Court of Appeal that it is not necessary to that suicide was a type of damage that was separate from psychiatric injury or personal injury.
Breaches of EU legislation
In Fracovitch v Italy 
Three Rivers DC v Bank of England (No 3) 
R v Secretary of State for Transport ex part Factortame (No 5) 
Human Rights Developments
Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd
Secretary of State For Justice v Walker; Secretary of State For Justice v James