Omissions and the Mysterious Public Veil: Consideration of the “Immunity” of Public Authorities in Negligence Claims

Authors: Jason Yong Published date: 15-01-2016 Status: Published

The law of omissions regarding emergency services have always been rather controversial because of the vague ‘public immunity’ defence or justification invoked by the courts. In light of the recent decisions by the highest courts regarding the emergency services, including the latest Supreme Court decisions of Smith v Ministry of Defence1 and Michael v Chief Constable of South Wales2, this article questions whether the logical underpinnings of the defence itself is prima facie reasonable. This article questions further whether the same judicial reasoning for omissions should be applied to the general public and emergency services, given that the latter do occupy a position above the general layman and is able to actively prevent harm from being inflicted onto the claimants. Keywords: Tort Law; Negligence; Omissions; Public Authorities; Immunity; Hill v CC of West Yorkshire; Michael v Chief Constable of South Wales.

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