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Remoteness of Damage

Damage is said to be too remote when, although arising out of the cause of action, it does not immediately and necessarily flow from it, or is such which could not have reasonably been foreseen. There are two tests to determine whether the damage is remote or not. It is the test of reasonable foresight that now holds the field.

(1) Test of reasonable foresight-According to this test if a reasonable man could have foreseen the consequences of a wrongful act they are not too remote. This view was upheld in Rigby v Hewitt (1850 5 Ex. 240). The test of reasonable foresight is also called as the test of probability (a man is responsible for the probable consequences of his act).

Thus, if A commits a wrong, A will be liable only for those consequences which he could foresee, for whatever could not have been foreseen is too remote a consequence of his wrongful act. Scott v. shepherd Illustrates the test of reasonably foresight. In that case, the person intervening was not fully responsible for his act and the defendant should have foreseen this irresponsibility: the chain of causation was unbroken and the defendant was held liable.

In Greenland v Chaplin (1850), it was observed that person is expected to anticipate and guard against all reasonable consequence but he is not by the law of England expected to anticipate and guard against that which no reasonable man would expect that the test in King v. Philips (1953), the court observed that the test of liability for shock is foreseeability of injury by the shock. Thus, foreseeability becomes the effective test.

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