R V F Principle

Topics: Causality, Escape, Plaintiff Pages: 5 (1471 words) Published: December 19, 2012
1. Rule in Rylands v Flecther
* Rylands v Flecther
Facts| * P sued D, the mill owner, for the flooding caused by the escape of water from reservoir on D's land. * Noted that the escape is caused by the negligence of the independent contractor, hired by D. * However, R v F is a strict liability and the negligence of the third party does not exonerate D's liability.| Held| * Court was of the opinion that obligation on the person who lawfully brings on his land something which can naturally do mischief if it escapes then D should be liable * This case has laid down the general guideline as to when R v F rule applies:Who can sue?: Owner or occupier of the land Conditions? : * Owner brings the dangerous material onto the land himself * The object is likely to do mischief (hence it is foreseeable for the owner) * Dangerous material escapes * And subsequently causes damages * Given that there is an escape, D will be liable for all the consequence and reasonable care becomes irrelevant.| Ratio| * “R v F rule applies where an owner or occupier of the land for his own purpose brings on his land and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes must keep it in at his own peril, and if he does not do so is prima facie answerable for all the damage which is the natural consequence of its escape”- Per Blackburn J.|

2. Collection and keeping
* Substances have to be brought onto land by the defendant which is likely to do mischief. * Liability cannot be established if something that occurs naturally on the land escapes and causes harm. * It maybe the substances that are collected and kept on the land cause something else to escape. * Lee Hing Warehouse Limited v Su Chi Keung Coman (1994)   Facts| * P sued D for damages to P's goods caused by the water escaped from a tank which was part of the D's dyeing and bleaching factory.| Held| * The court held that since the water from the tank is brought to D's premise for D's benefit, instead of a common purpose with all the other occupiers in the building, RvF applies.| Ratio| * The fact that D is the only one benefiting from the storage of the "dangerous objects" makes the court more willing to regard such storage as a "non-natural" use of land.|

* Miles v Forest Rock Granite Co. (Leicestershire) Ltd (1918) * Explosives were collected and kept on D’s land for his quarrying business but it was rocks freed by explosion that escaped from land. * Smith v Kenrick (1894)

Facts| * P sued D for causing the escape of water collected naturally by rainwater into P's mine and hence causing flooding. | Held| * D not liable. * The court held that the rule does not apply where the objects grow or accumulate naturally. | Ratio| * Natural accumulation of water or growth of plant does not constitute objects that are "likely to cause mischief"|  

3. Non-natural use of land
* It has to be proved that there is a non-natural use of the land for RvF to be applicable. * Rickards v Lothian [1913]
Facts| * Claimant sued D for the escape of water resulting from ordinary plumbing.| Held| * D held not liable. * “It must be some special use bringing with it increased danger to others, and must not merely be the ordinary use of the land or such use as is proper for the general benefit of the community.”- Per Lord Moulton| Ratio| * Lord Moulton defined non-natural use as "some special use bringing with it increased danger to others" * To determine if a land is of non-usual use, it has to be compared with ordinary use of that land.|

* Read v Lyons [1947]
Facts| * Claimant was an inspector at a munitions factory who was injured by an exploding shell. | Held| * We have to take into account contemporary circumstances in determining what it means to be “non-natural” use of land. * 1947 was around war time and munitions factory were essential to...
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