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Sutradhar v Natural Environment Research Council, High Court, 8 May 2003

20 May 2003
The issues

Arsenic poisoning – Bangladesh – strike out – Summary Judgment.

The facts

The Claimant alleged that he had been poisoned by Arsenic when drinking ground waters near his home in Bangladesh. The NRC received funds from the Overseas Development Agency. One of its departments had reported assessing the hydro-chemical charter of the main Aquifer Units of Central and North Eastern Bangladesh and the possible toxicity of ground water. The Claimant alleged that the report had been prepared negligently. The Defendant argued that the Claimant could not show that the NRC owed him a duty of care because there was insufficient proximity.

The decision

1. This was a novel point in a developing area of law.

2. It was not appropriate to strike out. These cases had to be decided on the facts, which were found at Trial. Proximity as a concept overlapped with the other concepts of harm and fairness, which derived from the relationship of the parties.

Application dismissed.

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