Wed, 21 Jun 2006 17:29:54 +0100
Economic Loss in The House of Lords
accept that the assumption of responsibility test isn't a universal
solvent, but it does seem to me that the HL was right to use it
in Commissioners. Effectively,
it strikes me that they're making a perfectly valid point: Barclays
Bank is paid to look after the interests of its customer and not
his creditors, and if there's no compelling social reason to make
it liable to extend this duty then we shouldn't do it.
contempt as wrongful means, list members might note one clear English
decision that this is a chicken that won't fight. See Chapman
v Honig  2 QB 502 (no damages for action taken against
plaintiff to punish him for having testified against the defendant).
Original Message From Robert Stevens
(1) Sharp is important, as I understand it, because the
English system of land registration is predicated on its being right,
or at least it was when I studied it years ago. It is no doubt good
law, as the HL just affirmed.
We cannot see the claim in Sharp as based upon the infringement
of the claimant's property right over the house. The claim was brought
by a chargeholder who lost his charge because of the careless failure
of a clerk at a local land registry to register it. The property
right was no doubt lost if it was not registered but the failure
to register didn't infringe the property right itself. Charges over
land don't give rise to (property) rights against everyone else
that they be registered carefully.
Assumption of responsibility is not a universal solvent and it is
a bad mistake to think it is. Treating it as if it was led to it
becoming discredited. Conversely, just because a concept cannot
explain everything shouldn't lead us to conclude that it explains
I don't know the answer to your intentionally caused hypo. It is
no doubt contempt, but are consequential losses recoverable? I know
of no case off the top of my head. You could try arguing it is the
intentional infliction of loss by unlawful means.
Bracton Professor of Law, University of Exeter, England
01392-263189 (int +44-1392-263189)
Fax: 01392-263196 (int +44-1392-263196)
Cellphone: 07870-130528 (int +44-7870-130528)
University of Exeter
Exeter EX4 4RJ
(n): One skilled in circumvention of the law.
Litigation (n): A machine which you go into as a pig and come out
of as a sausage.
Ambrose Bierce (1906).
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