Business And Corporation Law: MacTools Ltd

Business And Corporation Law: MacTools Ltd

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Business And Corporation Law: MacTools Ltd

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Business And Corporation Law: MacTools Ltd

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Whether MacTools Ltd can be held liable for negligence to Aurora, and Jessie, or not?

Negligence is covered under the tort law and it denotes a civil wrong done by the parties. An incident of negligence takes place when a duty of care was owed by one party to another, and there was a contravention of this obligation, resulting in grave or serious harm to the individual to which this duty was owed (Legal Services Commission, 2013). For claiming a case of negligence, there is a need to show the presence of six different elements, which include the duty of care, its violation, resulting damages/ harm/ loss, the loss not being too remote, foreseeability and the direct causation between the injury and the breach of duty of care (Legal Services Commission, 2016).
Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] UKHL 100 is a landmark English case which deals with negligence. In this case, the plaintiff consumed the ginger beer from the bottle manufactured by the defendant. This was due to the fact that the bottle contained a dead snail due to which the drink was contaminated. The plaintiff ultimately fell sick and initiated claim against the manufacturer. The court held that manufacturer was liable in this case due to the neighbor test. The reason for holding this was that the two people had a close relation between them, where the actions undertaken by one directly affected the other (E-Law Resources, 2017a).
Paris v Stepney Borough Council [1951] AC 367 was a case where the defendant was held liable for negligence, due to the fact that they failed to provide the required safety gear to plaintiff. So, when the plaintiff worked, a rusty bolt fell apart and hit him in his only working eye. Ultimately, the plaintiff lost his sight and sued the council for breaching their duty of care. The court agreed that the duty was breached as the safety gear was needed, especially when the council knew that the plaintiff had only one working eye (E-Law Resources, 2017b).
In order for the claim of negligence to stand, the damages have to be substantial and cannot be remote. Further, there is a requirement of the damages being foreseeable (Emanuel and Emanuel, 2008, p. 170). Vaughan v Menlove (1837) 132 ER 490 was a case where the defendant had, time and again, been warned about the haywire catching fire as there was a lack of proper ventilation in the building in which it was kept. As the defendant did not listen to these warnings, the court held him liable for negligence. The court also stated that a reasonable person would have considered these warnings and so, the plaintiff had to be compensated (E-Law Resources, 2017c).
There is also a need to establish that the negligence occurred directly as a result of negligence of the other party. In other words, there is a need to prove that the actions of the defendant resulted in the harm or loss to the plaintiff. Once all these elements can be proved, a case of negligence can be made and the damages can be claimed (Statsky, 2011, p. 18).
Upon a case of negligence being made, a counter claim which can be made by the defendant is highlighting the contributory negligence of the plaintiff. In such cases, the defendant shows that the person, who was injured, had made contribution towards the injuries sustained by him. When the contributory negligence of the plaintiff is established, the damages awarded to him are reduced by a sum decided by the court (Dongen, 2014, p. 8). Where a person exposes themselves to danger, they would be held to have contributed towards injures sustained by him. In Davies v Swan Motor Co [1949] 2 KB 291, the court held that the plaintiff had 1/5th responsibility towards the negligence as he was standing on the side of the dust lorry (E-Law Resources, 2017d).
In the given case study, the negligence of MacTools Ltd can require them to compensate the injured parties for their losses. But before that is done, the negligence of MacTools Ltd has to be shown. The first step is to show that MacTools Ltd owed a duty of care towards Aurora. MacTools Ltd is the manufacturer and Aurora is the consumer in this case. Donoghue v Stevenson states that the relation between two parties can result in duty of care. Even though the machine was purchased by Mulan, Aurora used it and so was the consumer. This was similar to cafe purchasing the bottle but Donoghue consuming the same. Due to these reasons, there was a duty of care which MacTools Ltd owed to Aurora.
The next requirement is to show that this duty was breached. The failure of the company to do anything about the chances of short-circuit was a breach of duty of care as it was their duty to make sure that the product made by them was 100% safe. This also made the chances of injuries which Aurora received as reasonably foreseeable. Applying the case of Paris v Stepney Borough Council, the resulting injuries of Aurora, would make MacTools Ltd liable. There was a direct causation of the failure of machinery and Aurora’s liability. And injures of Aurora were not at all remote and were substantial in nature. All these prove the negligence on part of MacTools Ltd for Aurora.
However, MacTools Ltd has the option of making a counter claim of contributory negligence of Aurora. Aurora had been warned in this case through the safety warning and she failed to consider this. On the basis of Vaughan v Menlove, Aurora would be at fault here. Just because Aurora never read these warnings, her fault cannot be denied. So, on the basis of Davies v Swan Motor Co, the damages which would be awarded to Aurora for the negligence of MacTools Ltd would be reduced.
In the matter of MacTools Ltd’s liability towards Jessie; the destruction of vase was not directly related to the negligence of MacTools Ltd. The actions of Aurora led to the power failure and not that of MacTools Ltd. There was an indirect link but not a direct one. Plus, it could not have been foreseen by MacTools Ltd that such an incident could take place, nor did they owe a duty of care towards Jessie. Hence, due to the lack of essentials of negligence, Jessie would not be able to succeed in suing MacTools Ltd for negligence.
To conclude, MacTools Ltd can be held liable for negligence to Aurora but the liabilities would not be raised for Jessie.
Dongen, E.V. (2014). Contributory Negligence: A Historical and Comparative Study. Boston: Brill Nijhoff, p. 8.
E-Law Resources. (2017a). Hyde v Wrench (1840) 49 ER 132 Chancery Division (Decided by Lord Langdale MR). Retrieved from:
E-Law Resources. (2017b). Brogden v Metropolitan Railway (1877) 2 App. Cas. 666. Retrieved from:
E-Law Resources. (2017c). Vaughan v Menlove (1837) 3 Bing NC 467. Retrieved from:
E-Law Resources. (2017d). Davies v Swan Motor Co [1949] 2 KB 291 Court of Appeal. Retrieved from:
Emanuel, S., and Emanuel, L. (2008). Torts, New York: Aspen Publishers, p. 170.
Legal Services Commission. (2013). What is negligence? Retrieved from:
Legal Services Commission. (2016). Negligence. Retrieved from:
Statsky, W.P. (2011). Essentials of Torts, 3rd ed, New York: Cengage Learning, p. 18.

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