Mitchell v Glasgow City Council Summary

Mitchell v Glasgow City Council 2009 WL 289442

Facts:

  • Drummond (D) killed his neighbour, James Mitchell (J) by striking him on the head
  • D and J had had a long history of violence and threat directed from D to J
  • D was facing possible eviction as a result of his behaviour towards J
  • J’s wife and daughter (M) claimed Glasgow City Council (G) was liable for negligence for not informing J of possible retaliation by D who had been violent conduct at a meeting held with G regarding his possible eviction on the day J was killed.
  • HC: G not liable
  • CA: Interlocutor recalled and M common law claim allowed before G’s answer (Procedural)
  • HL: G not liable

Parties:

Plaintiff/Respondent

Defendant/Appellant: Glasgow City Council
Claimants/Respondants: Mitchell (AP) and Another

Original Respondents: Colin McEachran QC Alison Stirling (Instructed by Drummond Miller LLP ).

Interveners (Housing Associations) Jonathan Brown (Instructed by McClure Naismith LLP ).

Original Appellants: Andrew Smith QC Roddy Dunlop (Instructed by Lewis Silkin as London Agents for Council Solicitor, City of Edinburgh Council).

Issues:

Should a Landlord be Liable for not Warning a Tenant of the Risk faced by the Latter as a result of Possible Violent Conduct of the Tenant’s Neighbour?

i. Cases whereby a party is alleged to have failed in their duty to prevent harm cannot be founded simply upon the degree of foreseeability (Hope LJ)

ii. Fair, just and reasonable test established in Caparo v Dickman extends beyond pure economic loss cases (Hope LJ)

iii. Whether it is fair, just and reasonable that a party be held liable in damages for the omissions to warn is a question of fairness and public policy (Hope LJ)

iv. A duty to warn another person of imminent risk associated with the criminal act of a third party arises only where the person said to be under that duty assumed responsibility for the safety of the person who is at risk. (Hope LJ)

v. Claim against a landlord’s failure to warn of imminent danger wrongly seeks to hold the landlord liable for mere omission (Scott LJ)

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