Case details

Darnley (Appellant) v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust (Respondent)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0070

Case summary


Whether non-clinically trained reception staff at an A&E department owed a tortious duty of care to the appellant to provide him with accurate information regarding waiting times.


The appellant went to A&E after having received a blow to the head. He was told by the receptionist that it would be 4 to 5 hours before he would be seen. This information was incorrect. The system was that a triage nurse would examine the appellant within 30 minutes of arrival and decide how soon he needed to see a doctor. The appellant waited 19 minutes then decided to go home. A short time after the triage nurse came to look for him but he was no longer there. The appellant’s condition deteriorated at home and he returned to hospital by ambulance. He underwent neurosurgery but by this point it was too late to prevent permanent brain damage resulting in long term disabilities. The appellant brought a claim for damages against the respondent NHS Trust for injuries caused by negligence of staff at the hospital.

Judgment appealed

[2017] EWCA Civ 151



Michael Mark Junior Darnley


Croydon Health Services NHS Trust



Lady Hale, Lord Reed, Lord Kerr, Lord Hodge, Lord Lloyd-Jones

Hearing start date

07 Jun 2018

Hearing finish date

07 Jun 2018

Watch hearing
07 Jun 2018 Morning session