Tort - psychiatric injury Watch

rliu
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#1
Report Thread starter 7 years ago
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Is it correct to say that Alcock put limits on the broad scope of who could claim for psychiatric injury, which seemed to be expanded by cases like Chadwick, which treated rescuers in a favourable category, and McLoughlin, which viewed foreseeability of psychiatric harm as the main criteria for claims. Alcock was the first case to distinguish between primary and secondary victims?
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saiwa
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Donal Nolan described Alcock as the case which "set the distinction between primary and secondary victims in legal stone". Although Chadwick treated rescuers favourably, Chadwick 1967 was before Alcock 1992 and White 1999. White took the same stance Alcock took on the relatives, and did not allow rescuers to recover. White has been criticised and described as illogical, and cuts across Alcock criteria. However, White has been subsequently applied in Cullin v London Fire and Civil Defence Authority.
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vnupe
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White seems to have been decided for political or policy reasons... There would have been a public outcry if "the rescuers" the police were able to claim for various psychiatric injuries when the generl public were denied. Also it could also be argued that the police were the cause of this tragic debacle and therefore how would it look if the people that were (collectively) the cause of the incident be the only ones to benefit...
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jjarvis
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Report 7 years ago
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(Original post by rliu)
Is it correct to say that Alcock put limits on the broad scope of who could claim for psychiatric injury, which seemed to be expanded by cases like Chadwick, which treated rescuers in a favourable category, and McLoughlin, which viewed foreseeability of psychiatric harm as the main criteria for claims. Alcock was the first case to distinguish between primary and secondary victims?
The points above seem apposite.

That said, McLoughlin does not view foreseeability of psychiatric harm as the main criterion for the existence of a duty of care. Lord Wilberforce's speech in that case sets out the requirements of proximity in space and time and a close relationship of love and affection as the factors that must be present to ground a duty of care. Though dicta suggest that a sufficiently dreadful accident could permit recover where the primary and secondary victim were in a less close relationship, this has not been applied in subsequent cases. EE McFarlane v Caledonia, which dealt with the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster, did not permit recovery for a person witnessing the accident from some distance, in spite of how incredibly horrific it was.
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