Stansbie v Troman [1948] 2 KB 48

Key point

  • A duty of care to take positive action can arise from a contractual relationship
  • There is no break in the chain of causation if the duty on the defendant is to guard against the act of the third party


  • D decorator forgot to lock up when he had finished work
  • The house was burgled while it was unlocked
  • C homeowner sued D for negligence

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • D was liable for the loss from burglary

Tucker LJ

Duty of care

  • The contractual relationship imposed a duty to take reasonable care of the premises if he left them during the performance of his work

Breach of duty

  • It was unreasonable for D to leave the house unlocked


  • Failure to guard against the very action of the third-party results in causation, though it might not be the direct cause
Negligence cases Remoteness cases
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