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"Caparo Industries plc v Dickman (1990)" by GPT4.0

 "Caparo Industries plc v Dickman (1990)" is a leading case in English tort law, particularly significant for establishing the test for a duty of care in negligence. The principles set out in this case have a profound impact on the law of negligence, especially in the context of liability for financial loss. Here's a detailed summary:


- Date: 1990

- Parties: Caparo Industries plc (Appellant) vs. Dickman and others (Respondents)

- Context: The case arose from a corporate takeover and concerned the liability of auditors for negligence in preparing company accounts.


- Issue: Caparo Industries purchased shares in Fidelity plc and later acquired the company. After the takeover, Caparo found that the company's accounts, audited by Dickman, were misleadingly optimistic.

- Claim: Caparo sued the auditors for negligence, claiming they owed a duty of care to potential investors like Caparo when preparing the company's accounts.

Legal Proceedings

- Court Decisions: The case progressed through the legal system, raising crucial questions about the extent of auditors’ liability.


- Decision: The House of Lords ruled in favor of the auditors (Dickman).

- Key Findings: 

  - The Lords established the “Caparo test” for imposing a duty of care in negligence cases. This test involves three stages: 

    1. Foreseeability: The damage must be a foreseeable result of the defendant's conduct.

    2. Proximity: There must be a sufficiently proximate relationship between the parties.

    3. Fairness, justice, and reasonableness: It must be fair, just, and reasonable to impose a duty of care.

  - In this case, it was held that the auditors did not owe a duty of care to individual investors like Caparo in the context of general company accounts prepared for shareholder information.

Legacy and Importance

- Impact on Negligence Law: The "Caparo test" has become a cornerstone in the law of negligence, particularly in determining whether a duty of care exists in various situations.

- Wider Implications: The decision has had significant implications for professional liability, especially concerning financial and business contexts.

- Educational and Practical Relevance: The case is extensively studied in law schools and is critically important for legal professionals in understanding the duty of care in negligence.

"Caparo Industries plc v Dickman" established a fundamental framework for assessing the existence of a duty of care in negligence cases, balancing the need to impose liability with considerations of fairness and practicality.


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