X and others (minors) v Bedfordshire County Council [1995] 3 All ER 353 (HL)

Negligence – duty of care – statutory tort – immunity from suit – striking out – human rights

A breach of statutory duty did not, by itself, give rise to any private law cause of action, although such a right might arise as a matter of the construction of a particular statute. Where a statute conferred a discretion on a public authority, nothing done by the authority within the ambit of the discretion was actionable at common law, unless the decision complained of was so unreasonable that it fell outside the statutory discretion. However, where matters were justiciable, the ordinary principles of negligence applied. It was neither just nor reasonable to superimpose a common law duty of care on the local authority in relation to the performance of its statutory duties to protect children.

BUT see Z and others v UK.

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