Disclaimer: This work was produced by one of our expert legal writers, as a learning aid to help law students with their studies.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of LawTeacher.net. Any information contained in this case summary does not constitute legal advice and should be treated as educational content only.

Stovin v Wise - 1996

293 words (1 pages) Case Summary

28th Oct 2021 Case Summary Reference this In-house law team

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

Legal Case Summary

Stovin v Wise [1996] UKHL 15

The availability of a private law claim in negligence in respect of a failure of a local authority to comply with a public law discretion


A local authority was aware that a bank of land was obstructing the view at a junction where three accidents had occurred in the previous twelve years. The authority had discussed the matter with the land owners and had agreed to carry out the required work. No action had been taken however by the time that the claimant was seriously injured in an accident. The claimant claimed damages not only from the driver of the other vehicle, but also from the local authority.


The issue in this context was whether a local authority could be found to owe a common law duty of care if it had not complied with a public law obligation.

Decision / Outcome

The House of Lords allowed the local authority’s appeal. It was acknowledged that the Highways Act 1980, s 79 did allow a local authority the power to remove obstructions. However, the statutory power did not give rise to a common law duty of care. It was considered that even if the work should have been carried out, a public law duty could not give rise to a common law claim for non-performance. If this was the case, an unacceptable burden would be placed on the local authority’s budget in respect of being permitted to exercise its discretion, especially since road users were already required to carry insurance. In other words, it was not fair, just or reasonable to impose a duty in these circumstances.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

Related Content

Jurisdictions / Tags

Content relating to: "UK Law"

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.

Related Articles