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‘Material contribution’ after Williams v The Bermuda Hospitals Board

Bailey, Stephen H.

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Abstract

This paper reviews the status of the principle that a claimant can demonstrate a causal link between the defendant's wrongful act or omission and his or her damage by establishing that the act/omission made a ‘material contribution’ to the damage. This principle has been reviewed, in the context of cumulative causes that cannot be ‘compartmentalised’, by the Privy Council in Williams v The Bermuda Hospitals Board. There, the Privy Council regarded the cases of Bonnington Castings v Wardlaw (leaving aside the point as to the divisibility of the disease pneumoconiosis), Bailey v Ministry of Defence and Williams itself as essentially similar to each other. They were to be regarded as cases where the court was entitled to conclude that it was the totality of the exposures/delay in question that caused the ultimate harm. As regards Bailey, this was said in terms not to involve any modification of the but-for test; presumably the same holds good for Bonnington Castings and Williams itself. So orthodoxy appears to be preserved/restored. But is that so?

Citation

Bailey, S. H. (2018). ‘Material contribution’ after Williams v The Bermuda Hospitals Board. Legal Studies, 38(3), 411-428. doi:10.1017/lst.2018.6

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 2, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 6, 2018
Publication Date Sep 1, 2018
Deposit Date Mar 7, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jul 6, 2018
Journal Legal Studies
Print ISSN 0261-3875
Electronic ISSN 1748-121X
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 3
Pages 411-428
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/lst.2018.6
Keywords negligence; causation; material contribution
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/50208
Publisher URL https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/legal-studies/article/material-contribution-after-williams-v-the-bermuda-hospitals-board/8D1A81B2895BF787CA1280883403623C
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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