Brunsden v Humphrey: CA 1884

The defendant had negligently caused damage to a cab driver and his vehicle in the same accident. The cab driver obtained damages for the damage to his vehicle.
Held: He was not disentitled from bringing fresh proceedings for damages for personal injury. There were two causes of action.
Bowen LJ discussed the single action rule, saying: ‘Nobody can doubt that if the plaintiff had recovered any damages for injury to his person, he could not have maintained a further action for fresh bodily injuries caused by the same act of negligence, merely because they had been discovered or developed subsequently.’ and ‘It is a well settled rule of law that damages resulting from one and the same cause of action must be assessed and recovered once for all.’ The rule is based on the maxim interest rei publicae ut sit finis litium, ‘otherwise great oppression might be done under colour and pretence of law.’


Bowen LJ


(1884) 14 QBD 141


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedJohnston v NEI International Combustion Ltd; Rothwell v Chemical and Insulating Co Ltd; similar HL 17-Oct-2007
The claimant sought damages for the development of neural plaques, having been exposed to asbestos while working for the defendant. The presence of such plaques were symptomless, and would not themselves cause other asbestos related disease, but . .
CitedWatkins and Another v Jones Maidment Wilson (A Firm) CA 4-Mar-2008
The claimants alleged professional negligence by the defendant solicitors in advising them to agree to a postponment of a completion. The defendants raised as a preliminary issue the question of limitation. The claimant said that the limitation . .
AppliedConquer v Boot CA 1928
The householder recovered damages in the county court in an action against a builder for breach of a building contract to complete the works in a good and workmanlike manner. He then brought a second action upon the same contract. In the second . .
CitedMoorjani and Others v Durban Estates Ltd and Another TCC 15-May-2019
Allegations of breach of landlords’ repairing obligations – defendants’ strike out application.
Held: ‘ the critical question is whether this second action is based on the same cause, or causes, of action, and not whether it pleads the same . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Damages

Updated: 17 September 2022; Ref: scu.260120