In recent times a duty-based approach to intervening causation issues has emerged. Lord Hoffman has referred to this approach in the following passage from his judgment in Environment Agency (formerly National Rivers Authority) v Empress Car Co. (Abertillery) Ltd:1
[O]ne cannot give a common sense answer to a question of causation for the purpose of attributing responsibility under some rule without knowing the purpose and scope of the rule. Does the rule impose a duty which requires one to guard against…the deliberate acts of third persons? If so, it will be correct to say, when loss is caused by the act of such third person, that it was caused by the breach of duty…Before answering questions about causation, it is therefore first necessary to identify the scope of the relevant rule.