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Formative Coursework Template

JUDGMENT

GAIL FAWKES V CITY CENTRAL FIRE SERVICE

before

Lord/Lady XXXXXXX

Lord Waffle

Lady Token-Gesture

Lady Jane

Lord Guff

JUDGMENT GIVEN ON

4th January 2018

Heard on

5th December 2017


Lord/Lady XXXXXXX: (with whom Lord Waffle, Lady Token-
Gesture, Lady Jane and Lord Guff agree)

Introduction
This case arises from a fire that burned out of control and destroyed a family
home owned by the appellant, Gail Fawkes. The fire might have been
extinguished before the entire home was destroyed if the City Central Fire
Service had attended the fire quickly.

The respondent claims that the City Central Fire Service owed her a duty of
care, to respond to the emergency call for assistance in a reasonable and
appropriate manner and that this duty was created when her sons emergency
call for assistance was answered.

The Fire Service denies that it owes any such duty.

In the High Court the Fire Service was found to owe a duty of care on the
basis of the telephone call for assistance, which was made by the claimants
son and accepted by the emergency services operator.

The Court of Appeal overruled this decision, holding that no duty of care was
owed in these circumstances.

The appellant now appeals against the decision of the Court of Appeal.

Facts
Peter Fawkes, the appellants 12 year-old son, and his younger brother Fred,
were having a Halloween party with their friends in their family home. They
were lighting fireworks in Peters room and throwing them into the air through
the open window. One of their friends accidentally missed the open window
and dropped a firework on the floor where it exploded, igniting the carpet and
the curtains in the room. Peters parents were not at home.
Peter, Fred and their friends immediately tried to put the fire out but it quickly
spread to the bedding and grew in intensity. Peter telephoned the emergency
services and requested help from the fire service. He explained how the fire
started and that it was spreading quickly. He also explained that his parents
were not at home and that he, his brother and his friends were desperate for
help. The operator said that a fire engine would be sent to the scene as soon
as possible.

The fire engine did not arrive at Peters home an hour after Peters call. By
that time, the fire had totally burned out the house. It had been decided by the
City Central Fire Service that priority should not be given to Peters incident
since the children had started the fire and since Peters parents had neglected
their responsibilities by leaving minors alone in the house. It chose instead to
first attend a later, and less serious, call-out.

Issues

Conclusion