Rachael Mulheron, ‘Legislating Dangerously: Bad Samaritans, Good Society, and the Heroism Act 2015’

Abstract:
The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015 is a troublesome statute. The Act requires that, when considering a claim brought against a defendant in negligence or for breach of statutory duty, the court must assess whether that party was ‘acting for the benefit of society or any of its members’ (section 2), or ‘demonstrated a predominantly responsible approach towards protecting the safety or interests of others’ (section 3), or was ‘acting heroically’ (section 4). However laudable the Coalition Government’s attempts to foster a ‘Big Society’ might have been, this enactment was not the proper vehicle to achieve it. Some provisions merely repeat longstanding common law principles. Others may have been intended to amend the common law to encourage ‘good citizenship’, but fall well short of that aim. And some aspects of the Act’s drafting have the (perhaps unintended) potential to sit uncomfortably with established common law negligence principles.

Rachael Mulheron, ‘Legislating Dangerously: Bad Samaritans, Good Society, and the Heroism Act 2015’, Modern Law Review volume 80, issue 1, January 2017, pages 88–109.

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