Journal article

'Recognisable Psychiatric Injury' and Tortious Compensability for Pure Mental Harm Claims in NegligenceSaadati v Moorhead [2017] 1 SCR 543(McLachlin CJ and Abella, Moldaver, Karakatsanis, Wagner, Gascon, Côté, Brown and Rowe JJ).

Ian Freckelton, Tina Popa

Psychiatry Psychology and Law | Published : 2018


Since at least 1970, one of the constraints upon compensability for pure mental harm at common law has been that a plaintiff must have suffered not just adverse psychological consequences from negligence but a 'recognisable psychiatric illness'. In a powerful unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada in Saadati v Moorhead [2017] 1 SCR 543 has controversially removed this requirement. This paper reviews the reasoning in the decision and considers its ramifications, concluding that while it is likely to extend the liability of defendants, this will occur only in a small cross-section of cases where a plaintiff exhibits significant symptomatology of a mental disorder albeit falling short ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers