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Cover Tort Law: Text and Materials

10. Negligence: Duty of Care—Public Bodies  

This chapter focuses on the negligence liability of public authorities. It discusses how negligence actions against public bodies may have both public and private law dimensions. The discussion of the public law dimension focuses on the mechanisms that have been employed in response to concerns about the political nature of some public authority decisions, and the fact that those decisions frequently involve the balancing of social or economic considerations, and the interests of different sections of the public. The discussion of the private law dimension of negligence actions against public bodies considers policy reasons for limiting the liability of public bodies and statutory responsibilities as a source of affirmative common law duties. The chapter concludes with a consideration of proposals for reform of the law in this area.