Goudkamp and Nolan, ‘Contributory negligence in the Court of Appeal: an empirical study’

In this paper we report the results of an empirical study of 112 appellate decisions on the contributory negligence doctrine in England and Wales between 2000 and 2015. It is the first study of its kind in any common law jurisdiction, and builds on earlier research in which we looked at the doctrine’s operation in first instance courts. Our dataset comprised every appellate decision in which contributory negligence was an issue that was handed down during the study period and which we were able to access electronically. The most important findings include the fact that appeals succeed more frequently in relation to the existence of contributory negligence than with respect to apportionment; that the overall prospect of winning an appeal on contributory negligence does not depend on whether the first instance court is a county court or the High Court; that claimants are nearly twice as likely to win an appeal regarding the existence of contributory negligence as defendants; and that by far most common discount imposed following an appeal is 50%.

James Goudkamp and Donal Nolan, Contributory negligence in the Court of Appeal: an empirical study. Legal Studies Early View. First published: 21 February 2017. DOI: 10.1111/lest.12153.

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