Duty enforceable is interpreted
S J Tubrazy
The following two paragraphs are selected to interpret the proposition, from Halsbury’s Laws of England (Fourth Edition) Volume 45 as under:‑
Matters to be considered.‑‑Whether or not an individual can bring a common law action in respect of a breach of a duty imposed by a statute depends upon whether the intention, of the statute, considered as a whole and in the circumstances in which it was made and to which it relates, was to impose a duty enforceably by an aggrieved individual. No universal rule can be formulated which will answer the question whether in any given case an individual can sue. In answering the question it is, however, relevant to consider whether the statute was intended to protect a limited class of persons or the public as a whole, whether the damage suffered by the person seeking to sue was of the kind which the statute was intended to prevent, whether a special statutory remedy by way of penalty or otherwise is prescribed for breach of the statute, the nature of the obligation imposed, and the general purview and intendment of the statute.
Class of persons protected.‑‑An individual may sue for a breach of statutory duty only if the statute imposes duty enforceable by a party aggrieved. The answer to the question whether statute imposes a duty so enforceable does not necessarily depend upon whether the statute was intended to’ protect a limited class of persons or the public as a whole. Nevertheless it is of importance to determine what was the intention of the statute in this respect, because, if the statute on its true construction is intended to protect a particular class, it is some indication that members of that class are intended to have right of action (for example in the case of statutes for the protection of factory workers, mine workers, building workers, merchant seamen, dock labourers and shipyard workers, or intended for the protection of the public when exposed to certain dangers). On the other hand if the statute is intended to protect the public as a whole, it will not usually be construed as giving a right of action to individual members of a particular class. In any case in which a class of individuals has a common law right of action in respect of the breach of a duty imposed by a statute, a plaintiff to succeed must show that he is within the class of persons which is intended to be protected and to which the duty is therefore owed.”.
From the aforesaid paragraphs, broadly two important principles emerge, (1) though a statute may impose a public duty, it may at the same time impose a duty enforceable by an aggrieved individual in addition to the public duty; (2) the plaintiff to succeed must show that he is within the class of persons which is intended to be protected by the statute.