Bellefield Computer Services Limited, Unigate Properties Limited; Unigate Dairies Limited; Unigate (Uk) Limited; Unigate Dairies (Western) Limited v E Turner and Sons Limited: Admn 28 Jan 2000

The Defendant builders constructed a steel building to be used as, inter alia. a dairy. The original owners sold it to the appellants. A fire spread from the storage area to the rest of the dairy and caused much damage. The Builders, had they followed good building practice and the requirements of the Building Regulations, would have constructed, a compartment wall which would have prevented the spread. The fire passed over the top of the wall which was not constructed to good building practice. The claimant appealed a preliminary ruling that damages for part of the loss were unrecoverable as pure economic loss.
Held: The claim amounted to a claim for an omission to act. In many circumstanmces it is not possible to draw a satisfactory line between misfeasance and malfeasance. There was no proper reason to differentiate between the original and subsequent owners. The judge had correctly interpreted and applied the law, and the appeal and cross appeal failed.


Lord Justice Schiemann, Lord Justice Tuckey And Mr. Justice Wall


[2000] EWHC Admin 284, [2000] BLR 97




CitedMurphy v Brentwood District Council HL 26-Jul-1990
Anns v Merton Overruled
The claimant appellant was a house owner. He had bought the house from its builders. Those builders had employed civil engineers to design the foundations. That design was negligent. They had submitted the plans to the defendant Council for approval . .
CitedAnns and Others v Merton London Borough Council HL 12-May-1977
The plaintiff bought her apartment, but discovered later that the foundations were defective. The local authority had supervised the compliance with Building Regulations whilst it was being built, but had failed to spot the fault. The authority . .
CitedStovin v Wise, Norfolk County Council (Third Party) HL 24-Jul-1996
Statutory Duty Does Not Create Common Law Duty
The mere existence of statutory power to remedy a defect cannot of itself create a duty of care to do so. A highway authority need not have a duty of care to highway users because of its duty to maintain the highway. The two stage test ‘involves . .
CitedDonoghue (or M’Alister) v Stevenson HL 26-May-1932
Decomposed Snail in Ginger Beer Bottle – Liability
The appellant drank from a bottle of ginger beer manufactured by the defendant. She suffered injury when she found a half decomposed snail in the liquid. The glass was opaque and the snail could not be seen. The drink had been bought for her by a . .
CitedDutton v Bognor Regis Urban District Council CA 1972
The court considered the liability in negligence of a Council whose inspector had approved a building which later proved defective.
Held: The Council had control of the work and with such control came a responsibility to take care in . .

Cited by:

See AlsoBellefield Computer Services and others v E Turner and Sons Limited and others CA 18-Dec-2002
The defendants had carried out works of construction on the premises. They subcontracted the design, but not the supervision, of the works to architects. Years later there was a fire, which spread rapidly because of negligence in the design of a . .
CitedAbbott and Another v Will Gannon and Smith Ltd CA 2-Mar-2005
The claimant had employed the defendants to design refurbishment works for their hotel. The work was said to be negligent, and the claimant sought damages. The defendant argued as a preliminary point that the claim was time barred. The question was . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Construction, Negligence

Updated: 29 May 2022; Ref: scu.140098