In that case, the defendant, in the course of its oil exploration activities, diverted a natural stream thereby denying the plaintiff of water and fish. The defendants were held not liable. Rylands v.Fletcher (1866) LR 1 Exch 265, (1868) LR 3 HL 330 lays down a rule of strict liability for harm caused by escapes from land applied to exceptionally hazardous purposes. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. In the course the works the contractors came upon some old shafts and passages filled with earth. Notify me by email when the comment gets approved. Abstract. A person who for his own purposes brings on his lands and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes, must keep it in at his peril, and, if he does not do so, is prima facie answerable for all the damage which is the natural consequence of its escape. In the circumstances, the defendant had constructed a reservoir on land that was on leasehold, whose purpose was to supply water into his powered textile mill. However, a single act could give rise to an action in both torts. However, a single act could give rise to an action in both torts. They communicated with the mines of Fletcher, a neighbour of Rylands, although no one suspected this, for the shafts appeared to be filled with debris. 330) that was the progenitor of the doctrine of Strict Liability for abnormally dangerous conditions and activities. In that case, Rylands, a mill owner, employed independent contractors, to construct a reservoir on his land to provide water for his mill. This means that the type of harm suffered must be reasonably foreseeable. In his land, Fletcher operated mines and had excavated up to disused mines which were under the land where the plaintiff’s reservoir was located. See Crowhurst v. Amersham Burial Board (1897) A Exch. Other defences include; Act of God and fault of the claimant. The contractor discovered some unused mineshafts but did 3. The defendant would not be liable under the rule in Rylands vs Fletcher if the damage that resulted came about from an unpredictable act of a stranger. Statutory Authority: an authority is under no liability for anything expressly required by statute to be done, if it’s done without negligence. 3. In the case of Dunn vs. Birmingham Canal Co[7] the plaintiff knowingly constructed a mine below the defendant’s canal. Planting poisonous trees on one’s land is a non-natural use of the land. 3 H.L. Damage must be reasonably foreseeable. THE RULE I1 RYLANDS v. FLETCHER 301 The House of Lords on appeal affirmed the decision of the Exchecquer Chamber and adopted the principle laid down by Mr. Justice Blackburn. Does rylands v fletcher still apply. Whatever form of broad strict liability it might once have been, it now has limited scope for environmental cases in either England or Canada. This concept came into being after the case of Rylands vs. Fletcher, 1868. The rule is an extension of the tort of nuisance, and can be confused with nuisance, but they’re not the same. Majority ruled in favour of Rylands. The law imposes strict liability to situations it considers to be inherently dangerous. The requirements of the tort are as follows; 1. In a situation where the damage caused was as a result of unexpected natural disaster, it would be regarded as an act of God, thus freeing the plaintiff from liability. Rylands v. Fletcher was the 1868 English case (L.R. It is embodied in the maxim: violenti non fit injuria. In Nigeria, the rule was first applied in the case of Umudje v. Shell BP Pet. In Rylands, Justice Blackburn held: 265. The following are some of the defences that can be used to excuse liability under the rule in Rylands vs Fletcher: This is a general defence in the law of torts. The rule in Rylands vs. Fletcher The plaintiff was Thomas Fletcher and the defendant’s was John Rhylands. Module. D. 5. Rylands -v- Fletcher - Introduction The tort developed under nuisance and was seen as constituting part of nuisance law for many years after, but now constitutes a distinct tort because of its unique application. In Box v. Jubb (1879) 4 Ex.D 76, the defendant’s reservoir overflowed partly because of the acts of a neighbouring reservoir owner and the defendant was not liable. The rule create liability in tort because it’s embodied on the maxim volenti non fit injuria. The rule in Rylands v. Fletcher provides strict liability for the release of dangerous substances resulting from an “unnatural use of the land”. Strict liability is divided into two main parts: The rule in Rylands vs Fletcher is one that borders on strict liability. In the case of Ponting vs. Noakes[6], a horse reached out and ate a poisonous leaf from a tree in the defendant’s land. Does rylands v fletcher still apply. In this case, during the cause of oil exploration by the defendant, it blocked a stream from flowing, thus interfering with the fishing rights of the plaintiff. Subsequently, a very violent rain fell which destroyed the pools and caused water to destroy the plaintiff’s bridges. When the case got to appeal, Lord Cairns, in the House of Lords, added an extra requirement that the thing brought must be a non-natural user of the land. In the course of the work, the contractors came upon some old shafts and passages on Rylands’ land. The rule in Rylands v Fletcher should be abolished and absorbed within negligence or alternatively should be generously applied and the scope of strict liability extended. 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