Assumption of Responsibility by Public Authorities

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Tom Cornford


Since the House of Lords’ decision in the Gorringe case, there can be no reason for imposing a duty of care in negligence on a public authority that would not also count as a reason for imposing a duty of care on a private person. In this context assumption of responsibility, as the primary concept used to explain the imposition of a duty of care in novel situations, acquires great importance. This article explores whether the concept’s application to public authorities produces satisfactory results and, finding that it does not, concludes that this underlines the folly of insisting that public authorities must be treated in the same way as private persons.

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