Letang v Cooper

Mentioned in Source 3.

Facts and Desisions.

A woman was sunbathing in a hotel area, which was close to the carpark. The defendant accidentally reversed, crushing her legs. There was no intention to hurt her, but she could have sued for negligence. She decided she wanted to sue after the limitation period (3 years), so choose battery to get compensation. Lord Denning felt there could be no overlap for trespass and negligence; Lord Diplock felt there may be. (source 3, lines 1-5)

How did it change the law?

Showed that there is a clear divide between trespass to the person and negligence, and intent is a key defining factor. (source 1 lines 21-27) This narrowed the law in regards to trespass to the person. It was heard in the Court of Appeal, so leads all cases below it.

Has it achieved justice in the law?

It is unfair on the claimant, who was negligently injured, however she had 3 years to claim, which is enough. It is fair on the defendant who did not intend to hurt her at all.

What is its significance for the developments of the law?

By showing the differences between negligence and trespass to the person, the area of negligence has grown dramatically since it started with Donoghue v Stevenson.

References to other cases.

Fowler v Lanning - The claimant was shot by the defendant accidentally. The claimant, believing battery was strict liability only referred to the fact he had been shot in his claim. He did not give reasons to why it happened, which was required.

Cole v Turner looked beforehand at what counted as intent. (source 3, lines 16-17) The definition of intent was also looked at afterwards, by Collins v Wilcock, which looked at if it feel into everyday conduct (source 4, lines 23-25)