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Study Notes

Key Case | Paris v Stepney Borough Council (1951) | Negligence - Breach of Duty - Special Characteristics of the Claimant

A Level, BTEC Level 3
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

This case established that a higher duty of care may be expected of a defendant where the claimant has a characteristic which increases their vulnerability.


Claimant: Paris - a fitter in a garage

Defendant: Council - the garage owners

Facts: Paris was employed in a garage, the owners (the Council) knew that he only had one eye with useful sight. Whilst he was undertaking his employment duties a chip of metal entered his only useful eye and eventually rendered him entirely blind. No goggles were provided to Paris, despite the risk of eye injury associated with his work, because it was not required by law at the time.

Outcome: Liable Legal principle: As the employers knew of the existing visual impairment suffered by Mr Paris it was reasonable to expect them to take additional precautions in respect of him, thus the garage breached their duty of care by failing to provide the claimant with additional safety measures.

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