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Rylands And Fletcher Notes

GDL Law Notes > GDL Tort Law Notes

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A more recent version of these Rylands And Fletcher notes – written by Cambridge/Bpp/College Of Law students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our GDL Tort Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Revision: Tort

[RYLANDS V FLETCHER]

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Concerned the flooding of the C's mineshafts by water - D had collected in a reservoir on his property o

Independent contractors had constructed the reservoir in such a way as to cause the water to flood the C's underlying mine

o

D was not negligent in allowing the water to escape - but Blackburn J held him to be liable
- 'the person who for his own purpose brings on to his land and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes, must keep it at his peril'

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HL upheld decision but introduced the rule that the D's use should be 'non natural use' of his land

'Brings onto land and accumulates there...'

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Giles v Walker - no liability for the spread of thistles from the D's land as they grew there naturals and had not been brought onto the land

For his own purposes anything likely to do mischief

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Liability for things which are obviously dangerous - also possible to impose liability for relatively safe things if they can escape in a way which would make them dangerous

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Acid - Rainham Chemical Works v Belveder Fish Guano

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Explosives - Read v Lyons

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Colliery spoil - AG v Cory Bros Ltd

Escape

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Substance must escape from land over which the D has control to land where he does not: Read v Lyons - claim failed because C was injured by an explosion on the defendant's land - there was no escape

Non-Natural User: thing that has been accumulated must have quality of being for non-natural use

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Richards v Lothian - Lord Moulton - '...it must be some special use bringing with it increased danger to others and must not merely be the ordinary use of the land' o

C suffered damage when the D's sink overflowed because a trespasser had blocked it

o

D was making ordinary and proper use of his land so no liability: all the circumstances taken into account 1

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