novus actus interveniens

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[Latin: a new intervening act (or cause)]

An act or event that breaks the causal connection between a wrong or crime committed by the defendant and subsequent happenings and therefore relieves the defendant from responsibility for these happenings. In tort the chain of causation may be broken by the claimant (McKew v Holland [1969] 3 A11 ER 1621 (HL), natural events (Carslogie Steamship Co Ltd v Royal Norwegian Government [1952] AC 292 (HL), or a third party (Knightley v Johns [1982] 1 WLR 349 (CA).

Subjects: Law.

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