The term nervous shock appears to have entered case law in the late-19th century and judging by the speeches of the privy council in Victorian Railway Commission v Coultas the term nervous shock entered the judicial language as a result of medical experts having used the term when giving evidence. The expressions nervous shock and psychiatric illness have become closely interlinked in that the psychiatric illness has to have been caused by the nervous shock. Brennan J. in Jansch v Coffey gives one of the clearest definitions of nervous shock: ‘the sudden sensory perception -that is by seeing, hearing or touching- of a person, thing or event which is so distressing that the perception of the phenomenon affronts or insults the plaintiff's mind and causes a recognisable psychiatric illness.’ Negligence as a tort is a breach of a legal duty to take care which results in damage undesired by the plaintiff, it is a culpabable omission of a positive duty. In the majority of cases on nervous shock the main thrust of the defendants arguments and as a result the courts deliberations has been that the defendant did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care. The other ingredients in the tort of negligence, breach and damage, are applied in the same manner to psychiatric illness as to physical injury. That is, did the defendant cause the damage, was the damage reasonably foreseeable and are there were defences available. It is within the concept of duty of care that there are further hurdles which the plaintiff must overcome to establish that the defendant did in fact owe him a duty of care.