Case Analysis: Mitchell V Glasgow City Council [2009] Ukhl 11; [2009]

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Case analysis: Mitchell v Glasgow City Council [2009] UKHL 11; [2009] AC 874; AER 205 The claimant of this case was the widow and daughter of Mr Drummond. They brought a claim against the council for damages in negligence, the essential legal complaint was that the local authority had failed to warn the deceased about the meeting before, and that they acted in a way that was incompatible with his right to life, under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Court of Session (Scotland’s equivalent to the High Court) at first dismissed the case in 2005, but in 2008 the court allowed the hearing of the case, also known as “proof before hearing”.Unanimously the Lords allowed the local authority’s appeal and dismissed the
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So the authority was liable to someone whom the officer shot in the course of an incident when he was intent on using the gun to harm his former partner and her boyfriend.
In the current case Lord Rodger of Earlsferry approved, the meeting is a significant factor. The Council having that meeting with Mr Drummond was not merely guilty of omission, but that there was no doubt that what the Council officials told Mr Drummond led on to his assault on Mr Mitchell.
Lord Hope concluded that “I would also hold, as a general rule, that a duty to warn another person that he is at risk of loss, injury or damage as the result of the criminal act of a third part will arise only where the person who is said to be under that duty has by his words or conduct assumed responsibility for the safety of the person who is at risk”.
Lord Scott of Foscote also conclude by stating that “ the relationship between the local authority and its tenants, Mr Mitchell and Mr Drummond, nor the actions of local on 2 July in giving Drummond a final warning about his conduct, can suffice, in my opinion, to cast upon the local authority the delictual duty contended for. The attempt to found an action upon the local authority’s failure to warn is, in my opinion, an attempt to found an action upon mere omission”, as well as reasons given by Lord Hope.
Even though the principle of proximity and foreseeability, which were established from Donoghue v Stevenson are