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Cambridge Water Co v Eastern Counties Leather

[1994] 2 AC 264

Case summary last updated at 19/01/2020 16:45 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Cambridge Water Co v Eastern Counties Leather

 D had a factory whose chemicals seeped into the ground entering a well that P had bought to supply water to town residents. Although there were no health risks, an EU directive forbade water containing more than trace amounts of the chemicals to be sold, so that P had to relocate their well. P sued D for nuisance. HL held that the harm was unforeseeable and therefore not compensable. The harm would only have been compensable if it had been foreseeable. .
Lord Goff: It would be unfair to say that in most tortious actions a fault requirement is required but not in nuisance. No duty of reasonable care has t be breached for their to be an actionable nuisance. However, the harm has to be a reasonably foreseeable consequence of unreasonable use (i.e. where the use is reasonable, t doesn’t matter that it causes foreseeable harm as there will be no actionable nuisance, and vice versa). 

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