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Dooley v Cammell Laird - 1971

283 words (1 pages) Case Summary

29th Dec 2020 Case Summary Reference this In-house law team

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

Dooley v Cammell Laird [1971] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 271



The claimant (C) was a crane operator working for the defendant (D). C was loading cargo from a quay onto a ship when the rope carrying the load snapped. The load fell into the hold of the ship, where C knew other workers were standing. Nobody was injured, though C suffered nervous shock as a result of what seeing what he believed to be the death or serious injury of some of his co-workers. The trauma of the event aggravated C’s pre-existing neurasthenia and, as a result, he could not return to work as a crane operator. C brought an action in negligence against D, seeking damages for psychiatric injury.


Whether D owed a duty of care to take reasonable steps in safeguarding their employees from the risk of nervous injury, as well as physical injury.


The application for a declaration was dismissed. Parental rights, as such, did not exist, except insofar as necessary to safeguard the best interests of a minor. In some circumstances, a minor would be able to give consent in their own right, without the knowledge or approval of their parents. The test proposed by Lord Scarman posits that a minor will be able to consent to treatment if they demonstrate “sufficient understanding and intelligence to understand fully what is proposed” ([1986] AC 112, 187[D]). The test is now often referred to as ‘Gillick competence’ and is an integral aspect of medical and family law.

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UK law covers the laws and legislation of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Essays, case summaries, problem questions and dissertations here are relevant to law students from the United Kingdom and Great Britain, as well as students wishing to learn more about the UK legal system from overseas.

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