This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Gray v Thames Trains Ltd [2009] 1 AC 1339

By Oxbridge Law TeamUpdated 07/01/2024 21:07

Judgement for the case Gray v Thames Trains Ltd


  • The principle of illegality comes in two forms:

    1. In its wider form, one is not entitled to seek compensation for any losses they have incurred as a result of their own criminal actions.

    2. In its narrow form, one cannot claim damages for harm that arises from the loss of their freedom, a legally imposed fine, or any other punishment due to their own unlawful conduct.


  • A collision between a Turbo Train operated by Thames Trains and First Great Western High-Speed Train resulted in 31 fatalities and more than 500 injuries. Mr. Gray, a Turbo Train passenger, experienced depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident.

  • Subsequently, he was involved in a fatal altercation with a pedestrian and was charged with murder. However, his plea was reduced to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility caused by his mental health condition. He was detained in a hospital after a period in prison.

  • Mr. Gray later filed a negligence lawsuit against the responsible parties, seeking compensation for loss of earnings, damages related to his detention and conviction, and indemnity against potential claims from the deceased pedestrian's dependents.

  • The central issue was whether Mr. Gray's claims for loss of earnings and damages were recoverable, considering a possible rule of law based on public policy that restricts compensation for the consequences of one's own criminal actions.


  • Mr. Gray’s claim was invalid.


  • This case is notable for its nuanced application of the rule preventing compensation for one's own criminal actions.

  • It underscores the importance of considering the underlying causes of criminal behavior, especially when mental health issues are involved, and distinguishes cases where third-party negligence plays a substantial role.

Any comments or edits about this case? Get in touch

For Further Study on Gray v Thames Trains Ltd

Aspects Of Obligations Notes
333 total pages
63 purchased

Aspects Of Obligations notes fully updated for recent exams in the UK. ...

Need instant answers? Our AI exam tutor is here to help.

Ask questions 🙋 Get answers 📔 It's simple 👁️👄👁️

Our AI is educated by the highest scoring students across all subjects and schools. Join hundreds of your peers today.

Get Started
Claim every advantage to get a first in law
Tort Law Notes
1,070 total pages
843 purchased

Tort Law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridge. ...