Bourhill v Young [1943] AC 92

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  • Young was riding his motorcycle and was hit by a car and died.
  • Mrs Bourhill, who was on the tram at the time, heard the crash, commenting “I just got in a pack of nerves, and I did not know whether I was going to get it or not.”
  • Mrs Bourhill later saw blood on the road.
  • She later suffered a stillbirth and blamed Mr Young for the nervous shock.


  • Could Mrs Bourhill claim for the nervous shock suffered?


  • No, because Mrs Bourhill was just a bystander and never in actual risk of harm.
  • It was too remote and not foreseeable.

“I am unable to see how he could reasonably anticipate that, if he came into collision with a vehicle coming across the tramcar into Glenlockhart Road, the resultant noise would cause physical injury by shock to a person standing behind the tramcar.”

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