It is argued, however, that the offshoot theory should be rejected, since 1 analysis of the Rylands v Fletcher case provides little support for the theory; 2 there are well- established distinctions between the rule in Rylands v Fletcher and private nuisance; 3 merger with the rule will be bad for nuisance; and 4 the version of the strict liability rule to which the offshoot theory has given rise is unappealing. Some Remarks on the Decline of Rylands v. He formulated the rule that made the case famous in the following terms: This should, however, come as no surprise, for, as Ibbetson has demonstrated, it is a mistake to exaggerate the contrast between the medieval regime of strict liability subject to a range of exculpatory defences and a regime of fault liability. Skip to main content.

But manner of performance is not. The decision in Rylands was an important victory for the supporters of strict liability, but while they won this particular battle their opponents eventually won the war. Williams concludes that this supposed principle was little better than a myth, and argues that cases involving escaping cattle ought logically to be classed under nuisance, but none the less the previously widespread acceptance of the vicarious trespass analysis suggests that Blackburn J. Linden eds , Torts Tomorrow: Sugarman eds , Torts Stories at p.

The action the plaintiff brought — which at esxay beginning looked like an ordinary negligence claim — was referred to an arbitrator, who found that the defendants had not been at fault, but that the contractors had been negligent in failing to block up the shafts. Sugarman edsTorts Stories at p. Clearly, having strict liability for substances or items housed on land, should they ‘escape’ to another’s annd and cause damage, is a tool that could well be utilised by environmentalists.

The arbitrator stated a special case, which came before the Court of Exchequer. Pty Ltd [] V.

P8 at [30], where Ward L. Although Murphy also emphasises the distinctiveness of Rylands v Fletcher, many of his arguments are different from the ones on which I rely. The second difficulty is that it makes no sense to characterise a given activity or thing as imposing a non-reciprocal risk in the abstract, for it all depends on the circumstances.


Chapter 19: Answers to end-of-chapter questions

Rabin and Stephen D. His conclusion was that no such awareness was necessary: Prifate the turn of the twentieth century, therefore, the rule in Rylands v Fletcher already appeared incongruous, a throwback to earlier times.

An obvious objection is that greater protection is thereby given to proprietary interests than to personal interests, and that this would appear to be indefensible.

Lord Walker took as read at [94] what Lord Goff had said in Cambridge Water about the inter-relationship of Rylands v Fletcher and nuisance. Does the rule espoused by Rylands v Fletcher have any use in the 21st century?

As was made clear in Hunter v Canary Wharf Ltd,72 if a wrong is characterised as one against land, then it follows that claims cannot be brought for personal injury, and that only those with an interest in the land affected have standing. See also per Lord Bingham at [5]: Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link.

private nuisance and rylands v fletcher essay

Contractors Ltd [] Q. Rather … it is a [] rule which requires those who pursue particular activities to internalise the costs of escapes. Tort Law Chapter In the body of the text, he made clear at p. It is much nearer the truth to say that an accident of definition, or lack of definition, of nuisance, may bring the same set of facts within either kind of liability, but that they differ notably in details, and that it is only where none of these differences of detail is in question that it is immaterial whether the action is for nuisance or is on the rule in Rylands v Fletcher.

Some Remarks on the Decline of Rylands v.

But it is no part of the rule in Rylands privwte Fletcher to forbid particular activities. So, while it might be a useful tool to have in one’s arsenal, the Rylands action is likely to be only of very limited use and, potentially, is of historical significance only.


In the body of the text, he made clear at p.

(PDF) The Distinctiveness of Rylands v Fletcher | Donal Nolan –

In Shiffman v Order of St John,82 for example, the plaintiff recovered damages under the Rylands v Fletcher rule after he was hurt by a falling flag pole in Hyde Park, and two years later, in Hale v Jenning Bros,83 the Court of Appeal awarded the plaintiff damages under the rule after she was struck by a chair that became detached from a fairground chair-o-plane.

One was the decision in Cambridge Water to apply the principles governing remoteness of damage in negligence, so that foreseeability of damage of the relevant type became a prerequisite of liability under the rule.

Rather … it is a [] rule which requires those who pursue particular activities to internalise the costs of escapes. Since the plaintiffs suffered physical damage to their property as a result, recovery in negligence was straightforward. Finally, the future of a strict liability rule independent of nuisance will be considered. The most recent attempt at retrospective rationalisation came in Cambridge Water, where Lord Goff said that the rule was best regarded as an offshoot of the tort of private nuisance, an extension of that cause of action to isolated escapes.

Little was heard of Rylands v Fletcher in the decades that followed, but more recently two decisions of the House of Lords, Cambridge Water Co.

Historically, neither restriction applied to actions brought under the rule. Thirdly, there is little danger flefcher subsuming Rylands v Fletcher under negligence will distort the latter tort or reduce its coherence.

private nuisance and rylands v fletcher essay

The first is that, although the analogy with nuisance influenced the outcome of the case, it was not necessary to the conclusion that reasonable foreseeability of the harm was required for Rylands v Fletcher liability.