According to the Court, future cases should be dealt with under the usual negligence rules, with two provisos: See similarly Restatement, Second, Torts, above n. The first is that, although the analogy with nuisance influenced the outcome of the case, it was not necessary to the conclusion that reasonable foreseeability of the harm was required for Rylands v Fletcher liability. The distinction with negligence is therefore maintained. Remember me on this computer.

The most recent attempt at retrospective rationalisation came in Cambridge Water, where Lord Goff said that the rule was best regarded as an offshoot of the tort of private nuisance, an extension of that cause of action to isolated escapes. The justification usually given for the American doctrine is that the person who chooses to engage in an abnormally dangerous activity should bear the cost of any harm that results, because the risks his activity creates are not normal risks mutually created and n. The focus was principally on trespass to land, though mention was also made of the action on the case. It is frequently alleged that this marked the end of strict liability in this context, but this is to ignore the fact that it is only the consequences of the escape, not the escape itself, that must be foreseeable, and to make the mistake of confusing foreseeability with fault. The explanation probably lies in anachronistic reasoning. Goldman v Hargrave [] 1 A. And, finally, the outcome of the Burnie analysis, abrogation of the strict liability rule, is much more defensible than the state in which English law finds itself in the aftermath of Transco.

Heuston, Salmond on the Law of Torts 11th ed. Williams, Liability for Animals at p.

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See also Transco, n. The decision in Rylands was an important victory for the supporters of strict liability, but while they won this particular battle their opponents eventually won the war. This contention will be examined, and an attempt made to refute it. By the turn of the twentieth century, anv, the rule in Rylands v Fletcher already appeared incongruous, a throwback to earlier times.

While it is certainly true that attempts have been made fletchef infuse the doctrine of non-natural use with fault-based reasoning, the claim that reasonableness in negligence and non-natural user are essentially similar concepts does not hold water.


On the practical significance of the burden of proof point, see Transco, n. A Historical Introduction to the Law of Obligations at pp. An obvious objection is that greater protection is thereby given to proprietary interests than to rulands interests, and that this would appear to be indefensible. This should, however, come as no surprise, for, as Ibbetson has demonstrated, it is a mistake to exaggerate the contrast between the medieval regime of strict liability subject to a range of exculpatory defences and a regime of fault liability.

private nuisance and rylands v fletcher essay

This would appear, however, to be an argument against any judicial development of the law at all, and in any case Parliament could easily deal with such a problem — if indeed it exists — by amending the relevant legislation.

In Midwood, Mathew L. Lord Walker took as fletcger at [94] what Lord Goff had said in Cambridge Water about the inter-relationship of Rylands v Fletcher and nuisance.

private nuisance and rylands v fletcher essay

An isolated act which is over and done with, once and for all, may give rise to an action in negligence or an action under the rule in Rylands v Fletcher, but not an action for nuisance. Essays in Celebration of John Fleming at p.

Do you think the courts in this country should follow the Australian High Court and formally view the action under Rylands v Fletcher as a species of negligence? Help Center Find new research papers in: It is also worth pointing out that, while insurance against personal injury is relatively rare, insurance against property damage is relatively common.

Chapter 19: Answers to end-of-chapter questions

Casebook and textbook resources Tweets from the authors Additional content Web links Flashcard glossary Guidance on answering problem and essay questions Annotated judgments and statutes Textbook resources Answers to chapter-opening problem questions Annotated problem questions Answers to end-of-chapter questions Pointers to ‘pause for reflection’ and ‘counterpoint’ boxes Textbook resources for lecturers Test bank Diagrams and tables Browse: In Shiffman v Order of St John,82 for example, the plaintiff recovered damages under the Rylands v Fletcher rule after he was hurt by a falling flag pole in Hyde Park, and two years later, in Hale v Jenning Bros,83 the Court of Appeal awarded the plaintiff damages under the rule after she was struck by a chair that became detached from a fairground chair-o-plane.


Clearly, having strict liability for substances or items housed on land, should they ‘escape’ to another’s land and cause damage, is a tool that could well be utilised by environmentalists. As was made clear in Hunter v Canary Wharf Ltd,72 if a wrong is characterised as one against land, then it follows that claims cannot be brought for personal injury, and that only those with an interest in the land affected have standing. While excavating the bed of the reservoir the contractors had discovered some old shafts, filled in with soil.

Williams, Liability for Animals at p.

(PDF) The Distinctiveness of Rylands v Fletcher | Donal Nolan –

Finally, the rationale of a principle of this kind is essqy from clear. Rejecting assimilation of the rule into private nuisance leaves three other options: Opinions differ as to the intentions of those who created it, and that difficult issue will be dealt with later. For similar analyses, see V. As we have seen, a close reading of the case suggests that trespass, rather than nuisance, was the established form of liability regarded as flecther the closest analogy.

Millner, Negligence in Modern Law at p.

The majority argued that over the years the gap between the rule and negligence liability had narrowed to almost nothing, and hence that assimilation of the two was now appropriate. See also per Lord Bingham at [5]: Of course, this analysis itself leads us to the conclusion that in practical terms the gap between the Rylands rule and fault-based liability was never that great.

The first is that it is unwise to base a sweeping reformulation of the law on a single article, particularly when it flies in the face of an abundance of authority to the contrary. Although the principal focus will be on the relationship between the rule and nuisance, that distinctiveness has also been easay in another way. Remember me on this computer.

private nuisance and rylands v fletcher essay

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