Nervous shock was as eligible form of injury as much as in the early 1900s recognized. Only recently, however, receive this type of injury reporting in the High Courts and the legislature has expanded. Unfortunately, there are few clear guidelines, in particular the High Court judgments.

In White v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1998] UKHL 45, [1999] 2 AC 455th With a majority of four minutes before one deviating Lord Griffith, the House of Lords held that may recover a savior for pure psychiatric injury if he / they are actually exposed to physical danger or reasonably believes that he / she so great danger. This decision seems to return the position of savior to what it was in 1901 following Dulieu v White [1901] 2 KB 669th It also contradicts the often authorities approved Chadwick v British Railways Board [1967] 1 WLR 912 and Mount Isa Mines v Pusey [1970] HCA 60; (1970) 125 CLR 383, where the courts decided, that a rescuer can recover, even if he / she was not in direct physical danger.

As a final introductory point, it is important to note that this paper does not explore medical evidence, although there are significant medical evidence of recovery from the applicants that are not present at the accident or its immediate consequences. Similarly, this paper only consider claims against the original wrongdoer, rather than those that messages (such as television stations, relays) and recovery on for pure mental harm rather than consequential mental harm assault. I do also accept the view that the recovery will be allowed only for recognizable psychiatric injury rather than mere sadness or grief. The common law developments are finally legal, despite the recent base, because the legislature has taken, discussed to a large extent, based on responsibility to the general laws.

Next, it is not appropriate at the present time to prevent the “lock” arguments, is dependent on the recovery. First, it is now generally accepted, both medically and legally, that psychological damage is the same and sometimes more damage than physical damage. Second, the floodgates are unlikely, as there are some limitations to open its application. Not only does an applicant have to prove the existence of a mental injury by expert advice, you must also prove foreseeability of mental harm. Third, given the advances in technology and medical knowledge, it is foreseeable that people suffer psychological damage. Fourth, mental harm in the amount of physical damage and it is unlikely that the courts limit recovery when 10,000 people are injured physically by the negligence of the defendant. Finally, it was has been recognized by the Law Reform Committee Report, the drawing of arbitrary lines is not a good policy, because they result in conflict and unfair results, as it has in Alcock. Consequently, the “floodgates” arguments are inappropriate and prevent the recovery in real cases.


One of the first cases to recovery for “nervous shock” believes Victorian Railways Commissioner v Coultas was. A gatekeeper at a railway crossing had negligently the gate open so that cross Mr. and Mrs. Coultas, if approached, the train left. She escaped to miss the train, but Mrs. Coultas suffered psychiatric injury as a result of proximity. While initially successful in the appeal, the Privy Council held that damages from mere sudden terror unaccompanied to a physical injury but cause psychiatric illness, not as a consequence which would follow from a negligent gatekeeper.

The defendant in Coultas argued that it had some temporary impacts on the physical recovery should be allowed for psychiatric injury. Although the Privy Council does not require physical effects, various subsequent authorities had cited “physical impact” as an explanation for the refusal to allow recovery.

In Dulieu v White Justice Kennedy held that a person could claim for psychiatric injury only if they are within the range of possible physical harm. J Kennedy explains that the recovery nervous shock is only permitted if the injury arose from a reasonable fear of immediate injury to be themselves. ” This restriction was later v by the Court of Appeal in Hambrook Stokes, where a mother was relaxed recovery after suffering psychiatric illness of the expected harm their children, although they do not observe their children to be harmed. Ms Hambrook finally discovered that her daughter Mabel was seriously injured. In Recovery allows the court ruled, however, where the exploitation of nervous shock following third party notification of the incident was caused. Mr Oliver in the 1992 decision by Alcock, took the argument that plaintiff can recover suffer psychiatric disorders, if they viewed the incident with “their own visual perception” rather than through third party communication. This requirement of “own visual perception is the primary threat to recovery for” nervous shock “of applicants, the embarrassing events of television view, is unlikely because it is this medium that is equivalent to ‘own visual perception.”

Despite the refusal of courts to award when a plaintiff recovery was not in physical danger or where they do not actually, a loved one makes it clear in a physical (or perceived) danger, the law that the law is on the rise. This was in the case of Mount Isa Mines v Pusey shown, where the High Court allowed an employee for psychiatric disorders that result from his experiments, two employees who were “just burned up” to support, through the negligence of the employer was recovering. Recovery was approved even though the plaintiff is the burn victims who died later, and he did not know not in any physical danger. It seemed that most of the awards, which was the relationship between the perpetrator and the applicant for the issue of liability. The court did not impose special restrictions on the exploitation of nervous shock, and this was in the judgments of judges WINDEY Walsh and clear. The law was the development in small increments to new situations of psychiatric injuries, but at least until the decision of the House of Lords in McLoughlin v O’Brian.

The case is – FROST and others v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police and other

On Volume LXX, Number 2, reported April-June 1997 Journal of the police decision of the Court of Appeal in Frost v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, (1996) The Times 6th November Court of Appeal, entitled “Some helpers can be taken to recover – even police officers.”

The decision of the Court of Appeals

This was a majority decision 2-1. In this case, rescuers found all except PC Glave, but he is on the floor in the course of duty, and in the field of risk of physical or mental injury, was suspended by the first defendants negligence, on the terrible events that followed. So it was a breach of duty to him by the defendant. The appeal of Sergeant Janet Smith, who was employed only on mortuary duties after the event was rejected.

In cases outside the master and servant relationship, the courts had it necessary, in the identification of those to whom a duty of care was owed to a distinction between primary and secondary victims and impose restrictive criteria possible, to determine this within the second category, who could recover, in which master and servant context, a duty of care existed solely on the basis of this relationship.

The standard of care in fulfilling this duty required and the degree of proximity would depend greatly from case to case one, are expected, among other matters, the nature of work and the degree of strength, of the employee. What a Savior, if a policeman or a layman, perhaps against a wrongdoer for the physical or psychological injury in the course of his employment by the employer to recover negligence.

A mere spectator, whether a policeman or a layman, not a savior and whom not required as it was from the relation of master and servant wrongdoer owed would not normally again McFarlane v EE Caledonia Ltd and would be only in the able to do this if it by the ties of love and affection to a primary victim related and otherwise meets the criteria in McLoughlin v O’Brian pronounced, Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police and Page v Smith.

The Court of Appeal so stated allowing, by a majority of appeals by four police officers, Inspector White, Bairstow PC, PC and PC Glave Bevis, of the dismissal (The Times July 3, 1995) their claims for psychiatric injury sustained as a result tend to sacrifice their employer’s negligence, the most from the disaster at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield 15th April 1989.

The House of Lords decision

Lord Steyn said, can be balanced in an ideal world, all those who have suffered as a result of negligence. But we lived in a world where the practical limits imposed tort system to the categories of claim that the test space and to the heads of recoverable damage. This could of course led in imperfect justice, but it was done on the whole, the best the Common Law.

The application of the requirement of reasonable foreseeability was sufficient for the disposal of the resulting claims for death and bodily injury. But the common law foreseeability to be considered as an inappropriate instrument for the removal of claims related to emotional injury.


The various categories of persons

The law divides those who mentally by the events of Hillsborough in different categories have been drawn. There were those whose mental suffering was a concomitant of the assault. This type of mental suffering was a regular as “pain and suffering recovered.

Next there were those who did not suffer any physical injuries, but persistent mental suffering. For present purposes, this category had to be divided into two groups:

1) Those who suffered from extreme pain, including cases where the sufferer’s condition was debilitating, and

2) Those whose suffering amounted to a recognizable psychiatric illness.

Diagnosing a case, as was in the first or second category is often difficult. The symptoms could be substantially similar and equally difficult. But the law denies redress in the first case.

But grief represent pathological grief disorder was recognized psychiatric illness and was recoverable. Only recognizable psychiatric harm rank for the test.

Where the line was drawn was a matter for expert psychiatric evidence. This distinction was to demonstrate how the law does not compensate for all emotional suffering, even if it was acute and really exhausting.

The four police officers were actively help to employ the human consequences of the tragedy and suffering resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder.

They put in the tip of their case that they suffered damage as a result of a tort, and justice demands that they should be compensated.

A constant theme of the argument for the police was that there was no justification for regarding physical and mental injuries, such as various kinds of damages, and attorney argues repeated observation in Page v Smith [1996] AC 155, 197G made.

Today, courts accepted that there is no rigid separation between body and mind, and that a recognizable psychiatric illness resulted from an influence on the central nervous system.

In this sense, there was no qualitative difference between physical and mental harm. And could affect the latter much more debilitating than the former.

It would be a completely different set to say that no distinction was made or could be made between principles for the recovery of damages in tort for physical injuries and psychological damage. The contours of tort law were deeply affected by distinctions between different types of damage or injury.

Political considerations had certainly won a role in shaping the law on compensation for pure psychiatric harm. It was settled law that bystanders at tragic events, even if they were foreseeable psychiatric injury suffered by overriding political reasons is not entitled to compensation, as in the case of debate.

Police officers in this case were more than mere spectators. They were all involved in assisting in the exercise of their duties in the wake of the events. And she suffered debilitating psychiatric harm.

His Lordship was satisfied that a recognition of their claims would substantially expand the existing categories, which could damage compensation for pure psychiatric. In addition to the award of damages to them sat uneasily with the denial of claims by surviving relatives of the decision in the case Alcock.

The law pre Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1992] 1 AC 310

In this case, the rule was that only parents and spouses could for psychiatric damage as a result of witnessing a traumatic event recover.

This case held that a person who reasonably foreseeable psychiatric injury as a result of another person to death or injury could not recover damages suffered when he could not meet the requirements that:

1) He is a close relationship of love and affection with the person who killed, injured or endangered,

2) The fact that he was close to the incident in time and space, and

3) The fact that he directly perceived the incident, rather than, for example, hearing about it from a third party.

Primary or Secondary Victim?

The next important development was Page v Smith [1996] AC 155, where a distinction was drawn between primary and secondary victims.

A primary victim must have been within the zone of a physical, as opposed to psychiatric injury. The applicant, who was directly involved in a car meets this requirement and could in principle re compensation for psychiatric loss.

In his Lordship’s view, it followed that all the other victims, the pure psychiatric injury suffered by secondary victims were and satisfy the control mechanisms in the Alcock case.

The employment argument

This case was argued on the conventional principles of professional colleagues. Counsel relied on the indisputable obligation of the employer to protect employees from harm by working.

Although there was no contract between a police officer and a Chief Constable, the ratio was exactly analogous to an employment contract and his lordship was pleased to address the problem as if there were such a contract.

The two separate themes to the argument

The first rested on an employer’s duty to care for the safety of his employees and take appropriate measures to protect them from harm. broke in the analysis of this argument.

It was a non-sequitur to say that as an employer was obligated to an employee, it can not lead to physical injuries, the employer should as a necessary consequence of that obligation, of which there are not any violation of the duty, cause of the employee’s psychiatric injury.

The rules that have sustained an action against an employer for damages in the workplace to apply the rules of tort law. It was thus thrown back to the ordinary rules of law of torts, which include restrictions on the recovery of compensation for psychiatric damage.

If the employer the duty to protect its employees from harm was formulated in the contract a term implied by law, such a term could not be wider than the duty arose under the law of torts. Therefore, the argument is based on an employer a duty not to support the police officers.

The second subject was an argument, when put to justice on this occasion. One was taking into account the demands of the police, the severe psychological damage in the course of performing their tasks have been created in harrowing circumstances.

This was a serious moral argument in their police duties for the benefit of us all.

The rescue argument

The majority in the Court of Appeal ruled that three of the policemen can be classified as a savior, because they gave active assistance in the aftermath of the tragedy, and uses the concept of a savior in an undefined and very broad sense.

The law was long the moral imperative of promoting public recognition to save people in danger. Those who selflessly exposed himself to danger in an emergency to save others were used favored by the law. A rescue attempt to save someone from the risk would be seen as predictable. The question in this case was: who could damage in terms of pure psychiatric injury sustained as a savior again?

Counsel for the police supported the appeals court’s reasoning, and relied on the concept of a savior as an exception to the limitations of the House of Lords in the case of Alcock and Page v Smith acknowledged.

His Lordship said that the specific difficulties faced counsel that none of the four policemen suspended at any time was a personal risk, and no one thought he was so exposed.

To compensate for harm as a pure psychiatric rescuers recover was not necessary to determine that the psychiatric illness was caused by the perception of personal risk.

But to include the concept of rescuer in reasonable bounds, for the purpose of recovery of compensation for pure psychiatric harm the plaintiff must have at least the threshold requirement that he set an objective of the danger or reasonably assume that he doing so.

Without such a limitation would be the unedifying spectacle that while leave grieving relatives were not allowed to recover, ghoulishly curious spectators, the support in any way in the peripheral may recover after a disaster.

It would be an unwarranted extension of the law on the claims of the police officer will confirm.

Lord Hoffmann gave a unanimous ruling, Lord Browne-Wilkinson agreed with Lord Steyn and Lord Hoffmann. Lord Goff provided a different assessment.

LORD GRIFFITHS, (different part), said he would be the appeals, provided that the plaintiff would rely on their status as workers but rejected the appeal in respect of those who came within the special category of rescuers.

The dual problem

First, the pragmatic rules for the recovery of compensation for pure psychiatric injury did not currently include police officers, such injuries are caused during the service.

If such a category were to be created by judicial decision, the new principle would be available in many different situations, for example, were exposed to doctors and hospital workers who are serious eye injuries and suffering.

Secondly, it was undisputed that police officers, who by something they have been traumatized encountered in their work for the legal systems they had been allowed to withdraw the pension.

In this sense, they were better off than grieving relatives, who were allowed to leave the country not to relax in the Alcock case.

The rights of police on our sympathy, and justice is the case, were great, but not as large as those of others, which denied the right of redress.


Police officers, the psychiatric injury as a result of being in the sequence involved when several spectators were killed and another severely empowered to Hillsborough Stadium not in Sheffield Football injured, an action for damages against the police chief either again suffered as employees or as a savior.

The House of Lords that the majority when it found a complaint with the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, on a decision of the Court of Appeal to a complaint by the plaintiff police officer, Henry White, Edward Bairstow, Anthony Bevis and Geoffrey Arthur Glave, Mr Justice Waller, the plaintiffs had dismissed an action against the police chief and other defendants, namely Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and Eastwood & Partners (a firm), for damages for personal injuries on 15 April 1989 suffered due to negligence of the defendants and / or breach of statutory duty.

Alcock – are the courts ACKNOWLEDGE recreation?

The House of Lords in Alcock usually has restrictions on the recovery of Lord Wilberforce in McLoughlin and some were situated less liberal in their application of the principles. The Law Lords took the three control mechanisms as factors that are taken in addition to predictability into account. This is especially true of Lord Keith, Lord Ackner, Lord Oliver and Lord Jauncey. It is important, but note that while some Law Lords discussed the factors as part reliably predict, others saw it as an operating system controls in addition to the predictable.

Lord Wilberforce had to be considered as attempts by the three elements of foreseeability met other factors. More important, the refusal of the House of Lords is to enable viewers to recover for psychiatric illness. We will now discuss the facts of Alcock and then discuss the situation of the plaintiff.

The applications were for psychiatric injury suffered by close relatives (eg siblings, children, and some less close relationships as a groom and grandparents), some of those who perished in the disaster at Hillsborough Stadium, a football game. Of particular importance for our discussion are the secondary victims, the events that unfolded as seen on TV at the same time. None of the applicants were successful for various reasons and the reasons for refusal are an important guide for the “TV-claimant.”

According to Lord Keith, watching television could not “… equiparated with the viewer is within sight or hearing of the event or its immediate consequences.” He added – “… nor can the scenes be considered appropriate to shock as a reason in the sense of the sudden attack on the nervous system.” This was because none of the scenes depicted suffering of individuals to see how the Broadcasting Code of Ethics exclude such items and this condition was known to the defendant. His Lordship also held that there is no evidence of close ties of love and affection in the relationship of the case (ie the brother and brother-in). This, even though he did not have limited the class of persons who may come within such a close relationship and considering the “Wilberforce rules” are considered as single factors. Therefore, it appears that applicants “suffer nervous shock recover” from the display of a broadcast, if “the suffering of individuals identified” was shown and the broadcasting guidelines do not bar such images. As Des Butler has made it so that the “nervous shock ‘claims for transfer of basic ethics is absurd to say the least.

This was the same reasoning adopted by Lord Jauncey. His Lordship added:

“Transfer … A television program, as it comprises of Hillsborough cameras at different angles to show all the scenes that no one individual would see edited pictures and a commentary superimposed. I do not think that such a program corresponds to the actual sight or hearing before the accident or its immediate consequences. “

He, however, refused to say on the Nolan LJ example of children in a balloon (see below) to comment, other than, “… would be a useless exercise to essay a comprehensive definition.” As Des Butler has, the camera angle is not arguing necessarily reduce the impact on the viewer. A zoom view, different angle or comments can make the events for another terrible television viewers as a percipient witness in another part of the world by appealing to the naked eye.

Lord Ackner also held that the plaintiff not to recover because the Code of Ethics. On the positive side, however, his lordship has not exclude the possibility that simultaneous television broadcasts with “sight or hearing of the event or its immediate consequences can be equated.” He cited as an example because of Nolan LJ in the Court of Appeal, where recovery may be permitted. This included the simultaneous broadcast of a special event for children travel in a balloon, observed by lovable parents, and the balloon suddenly in flames. He also noted that “could imagine many other situations where the effects of simultaneous television pictures would be as big if not bigger, than the actual sight of the accident.” His Lordship refused to limits on the “close relationship site” class, although not allow siblings to recover (because they could not prove, love). [79] When the call for a person who lost two brothers in a case as shocking as those in the Hillsborough disaster was successful, it is difficult to exploitation by anyone other than a parent or spouse.

The reactions to DECISION

The decision was widely criticized Alcock, both in Britain and Australia. Unfortunately, no such sharp criticism of the general attitude changed for the legal nervous shock. The case of the White showed a lack of willingness to deviate from Alcock. This was mainly by Lord Steyn, who said at one point against – “the abolition or relaxation of the special rules for the recovery of damages for psychiatric harm would significantly enlarge the class of persons who can recover damages in tort.”

In Britain, the main attack came from the United Kingdom are Law Commission. The central recommendation of the Commission was that the law must meet the requirements of the “proximity in space and time” and “Shock to give up.” It is clear that the Commission was informed of the arbitrary nature of judicial decisions on the basis of these control mechanisms and on the basis of the opinion convinced about the cause of damage and psychiatric injury. While the Commission proposed to remove these restrictions by legislation, it was not ready to abandon the requirement of “reasonable foreseeability”. He rejected the approach in three Australian states that had not required such a claim be accepted once the relationship had been met in the statutes.

The requirement of ‘close ties of love and affection “was maintained. The Commission recommended that legal basis, since certain circumstances give rise to an irrebuttable presumption that a connection is close enough to lead to psychiatric injury should be given. Spouse, parent / child, siblings and spouses of two or more years (including homosexual partners) came in such a relationship. The Commission did not specifically exclude other relationships, so their recovery can be possible if a close relationship of love and affection to prove. The Commission has further recommendations, but they will not be discussed in view of the limitations of this study.

It is interesting to note that these recommendations have not been given statutory footing. If it is to be adopted, it is likely that the recovery reported for “nervous shock” would be allowed in Britain. Spectators, however, are hardly in a position to a close relationship of love and affection to prove and are therefore unlikely to recover. Even if these recommendations are adopted, the code ‘ethics’ reasoning of the House of Lords are still available, rather than the recovery of television viewers in question.

Des Butler, in Australia, has four reasons that the Code of Ethics “argument from their masters in Alcock weds undermine provided, and strengthen the case for recovery by the viewers. First, it is dangerous, “… the more confidence on the Code of Ethics space for the purposes of the preparation amounts to an abdication of liability effect of the determination to an outside agency.” He asks where the law would be if the Broadcasting Authority decides to amend the Code of Ethics.

Second, the breach of the Code of Ethics does not always amount to a “novus actus intervene,” especially when “it was kind of occurrence that could happen probably exist.” Mr. Butler argues quite correctly, that “… the modern days of sharp competition between media companies, it is not unusual to expect broadcasters to the Code of Ethics violations from time to time. Certainly, application of the statutory duty of care test for it is not an “insignificant”.

Third, also a broadcaster compliance with the Code nor accidentally broadcast to recognize “the suffering of people”. It is from the judgments that the main reason for the demands of television viewers, because such suffering was not broadcast was clear. One of the examples he provides as an accidental injury where a person is determined by the role played in the incident, such as where the camera follows the progress of a particular car during an auto race, which by the negligence a mechanic is involved in an accident.

Finally, from Mr. Butler, an event that can live all over the world and the foreign country, the Code of Ethics will be broadcast if there is one, may be different, the land is recorded in the consignment. This places further doubt on the validity of the “Alcock” argument, especially as the gentlemen did not limit the class of persons who demonstrate a “close relationship” with the primary victim, and may be a majority were willing to allow recovery in some horrific cases. Furthermore, the Australian cases have on the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim is concentrated secondary, as the English cases which have been on the relationship between the primary and secondary reference opposite.

The door can not beat complete view of recovery for psychiatric injury based on television programs, especially considering that some believed the Alcock decision addressed the inability of the law have to do with injuries on a large scale. While the case of Alcock was somewhat detrimental to claims of TV viewers, the Australian High Court cases of Tame and Annetts and Gifford and Statutes in the Australian states, have some hope of recovery.


In this case, we will remain, should include:

“The different verdict may be held in order to reflect the belief of many, as the courts usually implies that each case should be judged on its own, none of us is the police, fire brigade, army, or for an easy time, but it are limits and seek the Court of Appeal for the golden mean, as such, they are the wisdom of Solomon or the House of Lords, must support them. “

What we ask of police officers? Detective Sergeant Alec J Comrym writing in 1947, “Your policemen ask,” had this to say: “He (the policeman) comes at the climax of the tragedy that often, in fact, brings with him. If the employer’s head, the stethoscope was cleared away shaken, the house itself burned out, be ready the crowd gasping, the dirtiest of work needs to be done. Someone has to knock on the door and arrest of embezzling clerk, do something taken with the girl from the streets to work, remove They charred remains to the mortuary, informed the wife of the man perfidy, the mother of the child’s death, and so on. It falls to the lot of the policeman. Having that in mind, that he after all, a creature of flesh and blood and not a buff envelope, not as he react to these moments?

After the House of Lords’ decision (1999) Police men and women are still in demand.

Not Solomon, but five Law Lords sitting in the sentencing, one who would have found some of the police, said Lord Griffiths would he appeals, provided that the plaintiff would rely on their status as workers but rejected the appeal in respect of those within the specific category of the rescuers came.

His Lordship did not share the view that the public would find offensive in any way that those who should disabling psychiatric illness as a result of their efforts to rescue the victims receive compensation suffered, but that those who should not take the pain of grief suffered.

Grief and sorrow were part of the common human condition that everyone at some point would be to endure in life. It could be a terrifying experience but it was different in kind from psychiatric illness, and the law had never recognized as leader of the damage.

Part of the price for our humanity, the suffering of grief for which no money can provide solace or comfort. His Lordship thought for his fellow man than to believe that, although survivors see how the dogs in the manger to those who went to the rescue Hillsborough.