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Review Your SQE 1 Practice Records

Examination Timing: 00H02M02S

A lorry careered down a steep hill and crashed into a school after the driver negligently left it unattended at the top of the hill. Emma had just left her daughter at the school but had already turned a corner into the next street when she saw the runaway lorry. Fearing for her daughter's safety, she suffered psychiatric harm when she was told that a girl of similar description to her daughter had been injured, while she rushed to the scene. 

Would Emma have a claim for psychiatric harm under these circumstances?

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It would be absurd to deny a mother who sustained psychiatric illness as a result of fearing for her child's safety, when on similar facts a mother could succeed in a claim if, not thinking of her child, she was frightened only for her own safety. In Hambrook v Stokes Bros [1925], it was established that a claimant could recover for psychiatric harm if they perceived the incident with their own unaided senses and feared for the safety of a loved one. Emma saw the runaway lorry and feared for her daughter's safety, satisfying the criteria for claiming psychiatric harm. 

Key Point: The case of Hambrook v Stokes Bros highlights that a claimant can recover for psychiatric harm if they witness an incident with their own senses and fear for the safety of a loved one. This extends the scope of liability for psychiatric harm beyond direct physical impact, recognising the severe emotional distress that can result from witnessing danger to loved ones.

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Thank you for your question, and for your attempt to answer the scenario involving Emma. Let's break down why the answer you provided was marked "Incorrect."

In the context of English Law, the landmark case of **Hambrook v Stokes Bros [1925]** does indeed establish that a claimant can recover for psychiatric harm if they perceive the incident with their own unaided senses and fear for the safety of a loved one. However, the specific facts and nuances of your scenario need to meet certain criteria.

### Why Your Answer is Incorrect:

1. **Proximity to the Incident:**
- **Hambrook v Stokes Bros [1925]** is pivotal because Mrs. Hambrook witnessed the lorry accident directly and feared for her children's safety.
- In Emma's case, while she did see the runaway lorry, she was not present at the scene but around the corner on the next street. This somewhat weakens the direct perception requirement.

2. **Immediate Aftermath:**
- To claim psychiatric harm, especially under the criteria set in cases following Hambrook, Emma would generally need to be in close proximity or witness the immediate aftermath of the traumatic event.
- Emma only learned of her daughter's possible injury through a third party and not by directly witnessing the event or its immediate aftermath.

3. **Confirmation vs. Fear:**
- Although Emma feared for her daughter's safety, there must be a clear causal link between witnessing the event (or its immediate aftermath) and the psychiatric harm.
- Emma's psychiatric injury occurred more significantly when she was informed that a girl matching her daughter's description was injured, making the situation less direct.

### Encouragement and Further Steps:
It's important to remember that legal scenarios often hinge on very specific details. Your understanding of the principles was generally correct, as evidenced by your mention of **Hambrook v Stokes Bros**. Do not be discouraged! Legal analyses require continuous practice and attention to the finer details.

I encourage you to continue reviewing cases on psychiatric harm, especially looking into the criteria outlined in the **Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1992]** case, which further developed the law in this area, including the requirements for proximity in time and space and direct perception.

Please feel free to ask more questions or seek clarification—understanding these nuances takes time, and you're on the right track!

Remember, the key to mastering legal principles is persistence and thorough analysis. Keep up the great work!

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