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Leakey v National Trust

[1980] 1 QB 48

Case summary last updated at 19/01/2020 17:28 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Leakey v National Trust

D owned a hill below which were houses and when the hill started disintegrating earth started falling and damaging Ps’ houses. D was held liable in damages to Ps. CA allowed Ps’ claim, saying that once D had become aware or ought to have become aware of the damage being caused by their land (even though they had not caused the damage), they came under a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent it. They had failed in this duty. This is based on the same principle that a man whose land contains a flooding river is under a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent it harming his neighbour’s lands.
Megaw LJ: This duty is one in nuisance and not in negligence. He was not prepare to consider the argument that this was, properly considered, a negligence claim and therefore couldn’t succeed, since it would be regrettable if “forms of action” could change a valid claim into a non-actionable one. 

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