Friday, 18 December 2009

A political duty of care?

In Donoghue v Stevenson, Lord Atkinson eloquently set out the neighbour test:

"You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who, then, in law is my neighbour? The answer seems to be - persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question."

Should politicans owe a legally enforceable duty of care to its constituents? Arguably, yes. But realistically, never. One cannot expect lawmakers to commit political and legal suicide.

Perhaps this is good material for what I call "legal fiction"; laws that will never come to see the light on this planet - but that can blossom in the creative fields of our imagination.

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