Providing resources for studying law
Custom Search
   Home      Pitts v Hunt
Pitts v Hunt [1990] 3 All ER 344 Court of Appeal

The Claimant, Mr Pitts (aged 18), and Mr Hunt (aged 16), were friends. They had been out for an evening together. Mr Hunt gave the Claimant a lift on the back of his trial motorbike which was a Suzuki 250cc. He had no licence to ride the bike on the road, indeed the engine capacity limit for a 16 year old to ride legally would be 50cc. He also had no tax or insurance. The pair consumed alcohol at their destination and Mr Hunt was twice over the legal limit for driving. Nevertheless, the pair embarked on their journey home on the motorcycle. Witnesses gave evidence that the two were obviously very drunk and Hunt was driving recklessly and erratically. He was zig-zagging down the centre of an A road at great speed, with both the parties shouting and jeering. Mr Pitts was jeering Mr Hunt on and encouraging the dangerous driving. At one time, Mr Hunt drove dangerously close to a witness in order to scare them. Unfortunately Mr Hunt hit an oncoming car when he was travelling at speed on the wrong side of the road. Mr Hunt was killed and the Claimant was left permanently partially disabled. He brought an action for the injuries sustained against the personal representatives of Mr Hunt. In their defence they raised the defences of volenti non fit injuria, contributory negligence and ex turpi causa. The trial judge held that the Claimant could not recover based on the fact that ex turpi causa operated to preclude the imposition of a duty of care and also that the Claimant was 100% responsible for his own injuries under the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945. On the issue of volenti he held that s.148(3) of the Road Traffic Act 1972 precluded the application of the defence. The Claimant appealed.


Ex turpi causa and public policy did operate to preclude the imposition of a duty of care. The trial judge was wrong in principle in finding that the Claimant was 100% contributory negligence since the wording of the Act precluded such a finding. S.148(3) of the Road Traffic Act did preclude the application of the defence of volenti non fit injuria.
Back to lecture outline on volenti non fit injuria
Back to lecture outline on ex turpi causa
Back to lecture outline on contributory negligence