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Hendersons - Barristers' Chambers
Articles Environment 13th Dec 2013

Environmental Claims


1. The principal causes of action in environmental claims are:

  • Negligence
  • Breach of Statutory Duty
  • Public and Private Nuisance
  • Claims under the Human Rights Act 1998

Claims in Negligence

2. The ingredients of the tort of negligence are duty of care, breach of duty, damage, causation and foreseeability. In Re Corby Group Litigation [2009] EWHC 1944 (TCC), a claim brought on behalf of children born with limb disorders allegedly caused by toxic waste, the group litigation order required the court to consider and address 5 specific issues which were generic and common to the claimants. The 5 specific issues were (1) whether in the management and execution of the reclamation works, Corby Borough Council (“CBC”) owed a duty of care to the claimants to take reasonable care to prevent the airborne exposure of the claimants’ mothers to toxic waste before and/or during the embryonic stage of pregnancy; (2) in the event that such a duty was owed, whether CBC was in breach of that duty; (3) whether any such breach had the ability to cause upper and/or lower limb defects to the claimants of the type complained of; (4) whether any alleged loss arising out of such breach was foreseeable; and (5) whether, in the alternative, CBC was liable to the claimants in public nuisance or under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

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