McGhee v National Coal Board  UKHL 7 is a landmark case in the law of negligence. The House of Lords held that where a breach of duty has a material effect on the likelihood of injury then the subsequent injury will be said to have been caused by the breach.
Mr. McGhee worked for the National Coal Board (NCB) and contracted dermatitis as a result of his work. He alleged that his employer was negligent in failing to provide him with adequate washing facilities to remove the harmful substances, which caused his skin condition.
The case was significant because it established the "material contribution" test for causation in cases of negligence. The House of Lords held that the NCB was liable for Mr. McGhee's injury because their negligence had materially contributed to the risk of injury. The test states that where the defendant's negligence materially contributes to the risk of injury, the defendant is liable for the damage caused.
The decision in McGhee v NCB has had a significant impact on the law of negligence, particularly in cases where it is difficult to prove exactly how the injury was caused. It has been followed and developed in subsequent cases and is now a fundamental principle of tort law.
You can learn more about this topic and other case law with our Tort Law notes.