Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 327 (Oct)
Neutral Citation: [2002] EWCA Civ 1470
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division

Simon Brown, Sedley and Scott Baker LJJ

Representation Nicholas Blake QC and Matthew Ryder (instructed by Christian Fisher Khan) for the claimants.
  Jonathan Crow (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) for the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
  Simon Freeland QC and Jeremy Johnson (instructed by D S Hamilton) for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
Judgment Dates: 23 October 2002


Tort - Misfeasance in public office - Ingredients of tort - Necessity to identify victim or class of victims.

The Case

An action for misfeasance in public office was not excluded where the predictable victim was neither an identifiable individual nor an identifiable group of individuals. The need for a class was not a special hurdle set by legal doctrine but a practical means of relating and restricting liability to effects in the direct contemplation of the wrongdoer. The purpose of being required to specify an individual or a class was to be able to establish that the harm which was done lay within the ambit of the material intent or recklessness. Accordingly it would be a sufficient pleading in a case where the consequence of misfeasance was alleged to have been personal injury or death that the harm in contemplation was either to a known victim or victims or to one or more victims who would be unknown unless and until the expected harm eventuated.

Practice Areas

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