Collateral Warranties and Alternative Solutions
As we have seen in Chapter 2, the role of the tort of negligence as a means of compensation for defective design and building work has diminished greatly following the decision of the House of Lords in Murphy v. Brentwood District Council.2 That decision was the culmination of a trend in the law of negligence which began in the mid-1980s. Three features of this decline in the tort of negligence need to be emphasised. Firstly, where a right of action in contract exists, any parallel action in tort will depend upon the terms of that contract. It may well be the case that those terms preclude altogether an action in tort. Secondly, tortious claims for economic loss are now unlikely to succeed unless they can be brought within the scope of the reliance doctrine first laid down in Hedley Byrne v. Heller3 and redefined in Caparo v. Dickman.4 Thirdly, the House of Lords in Murphy enlarged the concept of economic loss to include the loss suffered as a result of defects in the product itself.
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