para 52). Is a local authority entitled to refuse to contract with anyone it does not like? (Cf R v Lewisham LBC ex p Shell (UK) [1988] 1 All ER 938; Blackpool and Fylde Aero Club Ltd v Blackpool BC, p 436.) 3 The Cour de cassation, in consistent case law since 1876, has always forbidden judges to annul or revise contracts for imprévision, whatever the consequences might be… Contradicting the thesis upheld by the Cour de cassation, the Conseil d’Etat has elaborated since 1916 a theory of imprévision in administrative contracts… The interests of the public service require that this extra-contractual situation should not release the contracting party from his obligation. By way of compensation, the government has come to his help and take its share of the additional costs due to the imprévision… The basis for revision is precisely that the interests of a contracting party will be seriously prejudiced. It is a question of protecting an individual interest… This can thus be called protective public policy” (de Lamberterie, The effect of changes in circumstances, in Harris
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This was an action for damages brought against the police by the estate of the last victim of the notorious ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ (Peter Sutcliffe). The writ alleged negligence on behalf of the police in failing to apprehend the murderer and thus leaving him free to murder the last victim. The judge ordered that the claim be struck out on the ground that it disclosed no cause of action. An appeal against this decision was dismissed by the Court of Appeal and House of Lords.