Read -v- J Lyons & Co Ltd; HL 1946

References: [1947] AC 156, [1946] 2 All ER 471, [1947] LJR 39, [1946] 175 LT 413, [1946] 62 TLR 646, [1946] 91 Sol J Jo 54, [1946] UKHL 2
Links: Bailii
Coram: Lord Simonds, Viscount Simon, Lord MacMillan, Lord Porter, Lord Uthwatt
The plaintiff was employed by the Ministry of Defence, inspecting a weapons factory. A shell exploded injuring her. No negligence was alleged. The company worked as agent for the ministry.
Held: The respondents were not liable, since there had been no escape from the land which was a pre-requisite to liability under Rylands -v- Fletcher. No claim in nuisance or under the rule can arise if the events complained of take place wholly on the land of a single occupier. There must be an escape from one tenement to another. ‘escape . . means escape from a place where the defendant has occupation of or control over land to a place which is outside his occupation or control.’ and ‘For if a man commits a legal nuisance it is no answer to his injured neighbour that he took the utmost care not to commit it. There the liability is strict, and there he alone has a lawful claim who has suffered an invasion of some proprietary or other interest in land.’
This case cites:

  • Cited – Rylands -v- Fletcher HL ((1868) LR 3 HL 330, Bailii, [1868] UKHL 1)
    The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
    Held: The defendant . .
  • Cited – May -v- Burdett ((1846) 9 QB 101)
    The court considered the liability of the owner for a bite by his pet monkey. . .
  • Cited – Besozzi -v- Harris ((1858) 1 F and F 92)
    The court considered the owner’s liability for injury caused by a bear on a chain on the defendant’s premises. . .
  • Cited – Green -v- Chelsea Waterworks Co ([1894] 70 LT 547)
    A water main belonging to a waterworks company, which had been authorized by Parliament to lay the main, burst. There had been no negligence on the part of the waterworks company. The claimants’ premises were flooded but the waterworks company was . .
  • Cited – Ellis -v- Loftus Iron Co ((1874) LR 10 CP 10)
    The pasturing of cattle must be one of the most ordinary uses of land, and strict liability for damage done by cattle enclosed on one man’s land if they escape thence into the land of another, is one of the most ancient propositions of our law. It . .

This case is cited by:

  • Doubted – Davis and Another -v- Balfour Kilpatrick Ltd and others CA (Bailii, [2002] EWCA Civ 736)
    The claimants sought damages for sickness they claimed arose from exposure to radiation when erecting radio transmitter masts. The risk had been recognised, and a safety assessment undertaken and adjustments made to the transmitter power before work . .
  • Applied – Cambridge Water Company -v- Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL (Times 10-Dec-93, Gazette 16-Mar-94, Independent 10-Dec-93, lip, (1994) 1 All ER 53, [1994] 2 WLR 53, [1994] 2 AC 264, Bailii, [1993] UKHL 12)
    The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
    Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
  • Applied – Transco plc -v- Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL (House of Lords, [2003] UKHL 61, Bailii, Times 20-Nov-03, [2004] 1 ALL ER 589, 91 Con LR 28, [2004] 2 AC 1, [2004] Env LR 24, [2004] 1 P & CR DG12, [2003] 3 WLR 1467, [2003] 48 EGCS 127, [2003] NPC 143)
    The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
    Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
  • Cited – Hunter and Others -v- Canary Wharf Ltd HL (Gazette 14-May-97, Times 25-Apr-97, Bailii, [1997] UKHL 14, [1997] AC 655, [1997] Fam Law 601, [1997] 2 All ER 426, [1997] 2 FLR 342, [1997] 2 WLR 684, [1997] Env LR 488, [1997] 54 Con LR 12, [1997] 84 BLR 1, [1997] CLC 1045, (1998) 30 HLR 409)
    The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
  • Cited – LMS International Ltd and others -v- Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC (Bailii, [2005] EWHC 2065 (TCC))
    The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
    Held: To . .
  • Cited – Dymond -v- Pearce CA ([1972] 1 All ER 1142, Bailii, [1972] EWCA Civ 7, [1972] 2 WLR 633, [1972] 1 QB 496, [1972] RTR 169)
    A motorcyclist crashed into the rear of a lorry stationary on the carriageway. The plaintff said that the parking of the lorry was a nuisance, and that if it had not been so parked, there would have been no accident.
    Held: The appeal failed. . .
  • Cited – Leakey -v- The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA ([1980] QB 485, [1980] 1 All ER 17, Bailii, [1979] EWCA Civ 5)
    Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
    Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
  • Cited – Stannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) -v- Gore CA (Bailii, [2012] EWCA Civ 1248, [2013] Env LR 10, [2012] WLR(D) 266, [2012] 42 EG 133, [2013] 1 All ER 694)
    The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .

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