Hostname: page-component-cd4964975-598jt Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-04-02T08:48:43.054Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2017

Get access


All causes of action in tort, like all causes of action generally, are constituted by elements or ingredients. It is often the case that these elements are not crisply separated from each other. That is certainly so in relation to the cause of action in negligence, it having regularly been pointed out that none of its elements is self-contained. Denning L.J. took that view further than most. In Roe v Minister of Health [1954] 2 Q.B. 66, 86, he asserted: “you will find that the three questions, duty, causation, and remoteness, run continually into one another. It seems that they are simply three different ways of looking at one and the same problem.” More commonly it is accepted that although the various elements of the tort of negligence overlap, they nonetheless retain separate identities. Thus, determining whether the tort of negligence has been committed is not generally understood as requiring a single homogeneous enquiry but an analysis whereby one examines each element of the action seriatim in order to determine whether it is present. This conventional understanding was embraced by Lord Simons, delivering the advice of the Privy Council in Overseas Tankship (UK) Ltd. v Morts Dock & Engineering Co. Ltd. [1961] A.C. 388, 425, when he said: “It is, no doubt, proper when considering tortious liability for negligence to analyse its elements and to say that the plaintiff must prove a breach of duty owed by him to the defendant, a breach of that duty by the defendant, and consequent damage.”

Case and Comment
Copyright © Cambridge Law Journal and Contributors 2017 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)