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Old 12-22-2008, 10:09 AM   #19
SW01
3 Years in the Lurk
 
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Northern Ireland, UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTA:SWcity View Post
Basically screw things up REALLY bad.
Yep, just about!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTA:SWcity View Post
Tidied up perhaps...What about as-is? Could you enlighten us on the particular snafus?
Oh fun...

Now bear in mind that this is English, not US, law. It isn't so much that the law is confused, it is more that it lacks clarity, precision. Liability for rescue centres on proving that the rescuer's actions were not forseeable or 'natural and probable' in the circumstances. Actions of a rescuer are generally treated as foreeable, and courts take into account a 'heat of the moment' mentality on the part of the rescuer. So you can see how a careless action won't always be enough.

The tests that have been offered over the last 60 years are very imprecise, though. They call on the judge's opinion, really. The leading authority over here again uses vague language - forseeability; natural and probable result - which the judge (Lord Justice Stephenson) himself said would be a matter of opinion. That needs to be clarified, perhaps even by the Government by passing a law.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTA:SWcity View Post
They didn't before?
No. In the 1970s we had one of the highest-ranked judges in the land who was quite keen on extending liability in every direction (Lord Wilberforce). His Lordship didn't seem to get near rescuer's liability, though.

On the blaim and claim/compensation culture front, our courts have recently been getting badly bashed - mainly by the media, it must be said - for letting too many absurd claims through. There are a few very notable cases where ridiculous claims nearly got through, but in the most recent rulings, the Lords of Appeal (highest ranking judges) were clear that things would be tightened up, that things had gone to far for their liking. Which is good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTA:SWcity View Post
Thank you, this is what I was hoping to get into. The ruling has happened. Now it will come up again. Even if things are fine the way they are, it never hurts to attempt to bring it to the forefront.
If that is a ruling in support of rescuer's liability, courts will probably have the chance to elaborate upon it soon enough - maybe impose some limits on it before a mass of overzealous claims come in for people suing the person that rescued them. (It really does sound absurd, no?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTA:SWcity View Post
I find blame and claim culture to be abhorrent, personally. However, I agree in the case of unreasonable handling, negligence, or other such things.
One would hope judges are reasonable.
I think most judges are reasonable enough - it's when you get a jury in the mix that things can go strange (which, I believe, is how the US civil suit system functions?) Certainly, that's what a government task force here had to say of the US system in comparison to ours. (For anyone interested: BRTF report 2004 - page 16 particularly for US/UK comparison)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTA:SWcity View Post
I would not put it out of the realm of possibility that such laws for failure to assist could be attached to negligence laws preexisting.
I can't really speak for the US position on that, but from EW's link, it seems possible enough. We have a relatively long standing principle that a person cannot be held liable for failure to discharge a moral duty to rescue. (Lord Macaulay's Works)


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