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Jobling v Associated Dairies Ltd

317 words (1 pages) Case Summary

16th Jul 2019 Case Summary Reference this In-house law team

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

Jobling v Associated Dairies Ltd [1982] AC 794

Eggshell Skull Rule – Negligence – Law of Tort – Causation – Loss of Earnings


The complainant was a butcher at Associated Dairies Ltd and he had slipped on the floor and suffered a slipped disc while at work, due to his employer’s negligence. As a result of his injuries, he was limited to carrying out light work, which saw his earnings reduced by 50 per cent of what they were prior to the accident. Four years later and before the trial, Mr Jobling had been diagnosed with a pre-existing spinal disease, which was not a result of the accident. It would eventually disable him entirely and he would be unable to work.


The lower courts applied Baker v Willoughby and the complainant was awarded damages beyond the diagnosis of the condition. The employer’s appealed against this decision. The issue was one of causation and whether his pre-existing spinal disease should be taken into account for assessing work-related damages. The appeal was based on whether Mr Jobling should receive loss of earnings for the partial incapacity and the future or only for the four years of work.


It was held that the employer would only be liable for damages and partial loss of earnings for the four years Mr Jobling was employed. The court was critical and did not follow the decision in Baker v Willoughby; this was called an exception to the normal test of causation. His pre-existing spinal condition must be considered and all factors taken into account, in order for the court not to award excessive compensation. This was a case of the eggshell skull rule and an example of a ‘vicissitude of life’; it was relevant that the illness would cause full disability.

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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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