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Rylands V Fletcher Rule And Application Notes

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This is an extract of our Rylands V Fletcher Rule And Application document, which we sell as part of our Tort Law Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.

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Rylands v Fletcher - the rule and its significance Area of Effect

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Where But C's land/activities are interfered with o By an "isolated escape" from D's neighbouring land
? Rather than a continuing nuisance

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Rylands v Fletcher [1866]: A builds reservoir on land to help his mill, builds it so it is near some disused mine tunnels belonging to B which are not blocked up. Water put into reservoir escapes from the reservoir down these tunnels and flood B's mines. o Lord Cairns:
? The person who,

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for his own purposes brings on his land and collects and keeps there

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anything that is not natural to the land and its enjoyment

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and it likely to do mischief if it escapes, o must keep it in at his peril;
? and if he does not do so, is answerable for all the damage which is the natural consequence of its escape o Lord Cransworth:
? The question in general is not whether D has acted with/without due care and caution,

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but whether his acts have occasioned the damage Requirements for Liability

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D brings onto his land for his own purpose something likely to do mischief if it escapes o Rylands v Fletcher
? Blackburn J: could be beasts, or water, or filth or stenches o Transco Plc v Stockport MBC [2003]:
? Lord Bingham:

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Test should not be easily satisfied o Must be shown D has done something he has recognised/ought to have recognised
? as giving rise to exceptionally high risk of danger if there should be an escape

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No matter how unlikely escape is.

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And land was being used in a non-natural way o Lord Cairns in Rylands v Fletcher [1866]: introducing something to the land which in the land's natural condition would not have this something upon it o Giliker: Thing must be being put to some special use which brings it with increased danger to others
? Not merely the ordinary use of the land or the use as is proper for the general benefit of the community o Read v Lyons [1947]:
? Lord Porter:

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In deciding this question, all the circumstances of time and practice of mankind must be taken into consideration o So that what may be regarded as dangerous or nonnatural may vary according to the circumstances

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