Thursday, 14 February 2008

Legal Responsibility

An intriguing and interesting legal issue is being given coverage in the British news. A gambling addict is suing William Hill for negligently allowing him to continue gambling, after he had requested that he not be allowed to gamble with them. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7243656.stm; or http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/2008/02/14/punter-sues-bookie-for-letting-him-lose-2m-89520-20318661/

As with all media reports it is worth looking at the facts! But some important legal issues are raised -
  • what responsibility does an addict have for their own behaviour?
  • if another person is aware of that person's addiction, do they have (should they have) a duty of care to avoid feeding that addiction?
  • where another person promises to help a person avoid his addiction, do they have a duty of care to avoid feeding that addition?
  • what responsibility do companies have where the 'service' or product they supply is known to be highly addictive?
  • What is the standard of care required for such duties, if they exist?

These are important issues - and with obesity; alcoholism; gambling and drug taking causing so much personal misery to individuals and costs to society - what should the law be doing?