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Review Your SQE 1 Practice Records

Examination Timing: 00H01M06S

Tony was sitting on top of a large thin piece of metal sheet on the open platform of a works pick-up van, which his workmate Robert was driving. Alan was following a few feet behind in a small works patrol van, when a sudden and violent gust of wind caused the sheet and Tony to be thrown violently off the back of the van and over the side of a bridge. Both Robert and Alan claim to have suffered nervous shock as a result of witnessing the fatal accident. 


Which of the following statements best describes their respective prospects of success in a claim for psychiatric injury?

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Neither Robert nor Alan were sufficiently close to Tony to establish a duty of care for psychiatric injury. The relationship between the two workmen and the deceased had not been sufficiently close to bring them within the Alcock test for secondary victims. In Robertson and Rough v. Forth Road Bridge Joint Board [1995] S.C. 364, the court held that employees witnessing an accident involving a colleague were not in a different position from any other bystanders unless they had a close relationship with the victim or were directly involved in the incident. 


Key Point: The Robertson and Rough v. Forth Road Bridge Joint Board case, though a Scottish case, is widely cited in English courts and highlights that claims for psychiatric injury require a close relationship with the primary victim and proximity to the incident. Merely witnessing the event does not suffice without these elements.

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