Duty of Care: Definition and Meaning

A duty of care clause may be included in a written contract, but it is frequently an implied obligation that comes with being a corporate director. They must perform their role by making morally, monetarily, and legally sound decisions. All relevant data should be considered before making these decisions.

Meaning of Duty of Care

The obligation that an individual or organization has while transacting business with or otherwise cooperating with another person or organization is known as a duty of care. According to tort law, a person or association has a duty of care to act in a comparable manner as a reasonable person would. Any injury that another person experiences as a result of someone else's careless or reckless activity is the responsibility of the individual who violated their duty of care.

Further, directors are required to behave wisely and in the best interests of the organization. Therefore, the obligation for directors to be present, informed, and involved can be totted up as the duty of care. In addition to consulting meeting minutes and specialists for credible information and advice, they should exercise sound judgment. In addition, they need to keep up with any changes in the law, good governance, and industry standards that can have an impact on their businesses.

Additionally, directors want to plan meetings where they can evaluate and discuss topics including executive remuneration, budget concerns, legal acquiescence, and premeditated direction.

Case Laws

Delhi Municipal Corporation v. Subhagwanti (1966)

In this instance, a very old clock tower in the midst of Chandni Chowk unexpectedly collapsed, killing numerous people. The tower of the eighty-year-old clock was it. The Delhi Municipal Corporation, which has jurisdiction over the clock tower, owed a duty of care to the people who were tasked with fixing it. Since they had failed in this obligation, they were held accountable.

Stansbie v. Troman (1948)

In this instance, a designer was asked to decorate the home because it was being used for a party. After finishing, he left the house without locking the doors or alerting anyone. A burglar entered the home and took items whose value the homeowner claimed to have been provided by the decorator. Because the decorator breached his duty of care by leaving the premises open, he was held accountable.

Legal Duty of Care

Comparable to a medical duty of care is a legal duty of care. The main distinction is that in this case, lawyers are involved rather than medical professionals. Here, a client cannot effectively sue an attorney for malpractice unless there is a "special" relationship between the two parties. An attorney who has not yet been hired to represent a client on a case owes no legal duty of care to the person with whom he has spoken.

The client is the individual who hires the lawyer to represent him in his case. The lawyer is then subject to the same legal obligations of care that other lawyers practicing in like circumstances and legal specialties would be. This means that the lawyer must operate in the client's best interests and take all reasonable precautions to stop the client from suffering more losses as a result of his claim.

Medical Duty of Care

Medical duty of care is the responsibility a doctor has to his patient. In order for a doctor to be held accountable for any damages that may result from his actions, the law states that there must be a "superior" connection between the doctor and his patient. For instance, a doctor is not obligated to aid a fellow diner who starts to choke while he is eating supper at a restaurant. Due of the lack of a relationship between them, the patient cannot hold the doctor accountable for malpractice for failing to assist him.

The doctor, however, runs the risk of being held liable for malpractice or carelessness if something goes wrong if he decides to act on his own and assist the patient. The doctor has a medical duty of care to act in a way that another doctor would act in the same situation after he establishes a relationship with the patient. The doctor may not be the only person at fault if a patient chooses to sue for medical malpractice. Because the hospital hired the doctor and agreed to oversee his conduct, the hospital may also be subject to the similar medical duty of care ordinary. Consequently, the hospital may be held accountable for the staff members' carelessness.

Medical Dereliction and Negligence

A patient must be able to establish that the doctor owed him a duty of care in order to prevail in a medical negligence action. This is accomplished by demonstrating that the patient and doctor had a unique relationship at the time of the incident. Typically, the patient's medical records and, infrequently, court testament demonstrating that the patient willingly chose that doctor and underwent an examination by that doctor are all that are required as proof of this relationship.

After then, the patient must demonstrate the degree of care that would have been suitable for him. To prove that the physician may have been careless in providing the patient with the necessary level of care. The patient may be granted indemnities based on his claim of malpractice if the judge finds that the doctor was, in fact, careless.


The duty of care is a fiduciary obligation that calls for directors and/or officers of a corporation to take actions that reasonably diligently and prudently advance the interests of the corporation. Directors and executives are obligated to the corporation, not to its stakeholders or the general public, under this fiduciary obligation.


Q1. What do you mean by negligence?

Ans. The failure to use the appropriate and/or ethically required care that is expected to be used in a particular circumstance is referred to as negligence. A subset of tort law known as negligence deals with harm caused by being careless or neglecting to act, sometimes with the help of mitigating circumstances.

Q2. Define the term, Mens Rea?

Ans. It is the mental condition that gave rise to the crime, and both the actus reus and the mental state may play a role in how a crime is classified legally. If a crime was intended to be committed or, in some jurisdictions, if the culprit knew that their actions would result in a crime being committed, homicide is categorized as murder.

Q3. What is criminal negligence?

Ans. A defendant committing "criminal negligence" includes acting in a way that is against the accepted norm. It can be contrasted with offences that require Mens rea, a mental state of guilt, or strictly liable offenses, which do not consider mental states when deciding criminal liability.

Updated on: 11-Apr-2023


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