Bourhill v Young [1943]: Case Analysis

Bourhill v Young: Case Summary

The Claimant was pregnant and disembarked a tram, the defendant then got into a car accident on his motorbike 50 feet away and was killed on impact. The Claimant, a short time later proceeded to walk past where the incident had taken place and saw a large amount of blood where the incident had taken place, causing her to go into shock and her baby was still born. She brought a negligence claim against the Defendant’s estate however no duty of care was owed by the Defendant to the Claimant.

Bournhill v Young: Download the Full Judgment Transcript Here

Bournhillv Young lexlaw professional negligence solicitor lawyer barrister london tort compensation claim no win no fee conditional fee arrangement cfa dba
Click to Download Bourhill v Young [1943] AC 92

Bourhill v Young: Case Analysis

This Scottish case is important in that it establishes the extent of the duty owed by an individual to ensure that others are not harmed by their activities. In particular, the case establishes the limits on recovery for bystanders and holds that a woman who suffered psychiatric harm after witnessing the scene of a motorcycle accident is not considered to be a foreseeable victim as she was not in immediate danger of physical harm.

Lord Russell’s judgment in particular highlights that it is difficult to make out that a duty of care is owed to unforeseeable victims:

“The appellant was not within his vision, but was standing behind the solid barrier of the tramcar. His speed in no way endangered her. In these circumstances I am unable to see how he could reasonably anticipate that, if he came into collision with a vehicle coming across the tramcar into Glenlockhart Road, the resultant noise would cause physical injury by shock to a person standing behind the tramcar. In my opinion, he owed no duty to the appellant, and was, therefore, not guilty of any negligence in relation to her.”

Lord Russell, Bourhill v Young [1943] AC 92

Book an Initial Consultation with our Professional Negligence Lawyers

Do you have a claim against a professional? If you want expert legal advice, do not delay in instructing us so we can assess the legal merit of your case.

We can often take on such claims on a no win no fee basis (such as a Conditional Fee Arrangement) once we have discussed the claim with you and then assessed and advised you on the merits of the proposed professional negligence action.

Our expert legal team of leading Professional Negligence Solicitors & Barristers can provide urgent help, advice or representation to you. Just call our Professional Negligence Lawyers on 02071830529 or email us now.

Instruct Specialist Professional Negligence Solicitors

We are a specialist City of London law firm made up of Solicitors & Barristers operating from the only law firm based in the Middle Temple Inn of Court adjacent to the Royal Courts of Justice. Our team have expertise in advising on claims for compensation against professionals that have fallen below the standard expected, which causes clients financial or personal loss. We are experienced in bringing successful claims against negligent solicitors, barristers, financial advisers, insurance brokers, surveyors, valuers, architects, tax advisers and IFAs.

Call Now search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close