Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2016] All ER (D) 213 (Jan)
Neutral Citation: [2016] UKPC 4
Court: Privy Council

Lady Hale, Lord Clarke, Lord Hughes, Lord Toulson and Lord Hodge

Representation Caroline Harrison QC and Andrew Bershadski (instructed by Bevan Brittan LLP) for the appellant.
  Benjamin Browne QC and Luka Krsljanin (instructed by Wakefield Quin Ltd) for the respondent.
  Philip Havers QC and Jeremy Hyam (written submissions only) (instructed by Bevan Brittan LLP) for the NHS Litigation Authority, as intervener.
Judgment Dates: 25 January 2016


Negligence - Causation - Breach of duty causing or materially contributing to damage - Respondent attending hospital complaining of abdominal pain - Respondent suffering from acute appendicitis - Respondent undergoing surgery - Sepsis from ruptured appendix causing injury to heart and lungs - Respondent bringing proceedings against appellant hospital board, alleging complications result of negligent delay in treatment - Trial judge finding negligence, but respondent not proving culpable delay causing complications - Court of Appeal of Bermuda reversing judge's decision on causation and remitting case to judge for fresh assessment of damages - Judge increasing award - Appellant appealing - Whether judge erring.

The Case

Negligence Causation. The Privy Council, in dismissing the appellant hospital board's appeal, held that, as a matter of principle, successive events were capable of each making a material contribution to the subsequent outcome. It was not persuaded by the appellant's argument that Bonnington Castings Ltd v Wardlaw () was distinguishable because, in that case, the inhalation from two sources had been simultaneous, whereas, in the present case, the sepsis attributable to the appellant's negligence had developed after sepsis had already begun to develop.

Practice Areas

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