Dodd Properties (Kent) Ltd v Canterbury City Council: CA 21 Dec 1979

The defendants had, in the course of building operations, caused nuisance and damage to the plaintiff’s building. The dispute was very lengthy, the costs of repair increased accordingly, and the parties now disputed the date at which damages fell to be assessed.
Held: It was not apparent why a tortfeasor must take his victim as he finds him in terms of exceptionally high or low earning capacity, but not in terms of pecuniosity or impecuniosity which may be their manifestation. It was commercially prudent for the plaintiff to wait to see if they could recover the costs of repairs. Referring to the Liesbosch: ‘As I understand Lord Wright’s speech, he took the view that, in so far as the plaintiffs had in fact suffered more than the loss assessed on a market basis, the excess flowed directly from their lack of means and not from the tortious act, or alternatively it was too remote in law. In modern terms, I think that he would have said that it was not foreseeable.’
Megaw LJ said: ‘In any case of doubt, it is desirable that the judge, having decided provisionally as to the amount of damages, should, before finally deciding, consider whether the amount conforms with the requirement of Lord Blackburn’s fundamental principle. If it appears not to conform, the judge should examine the question again to see whether the particular case falls within one of the exceptions of which Lord Blackburn gave examples, or whether he is obliged by some binding authority to arrive at a result which is inconsistent with the fundamental principle.’
And: ‘In this context the Defendants submitted that all owners of property suffered a loss of value when the market fell. They asked the hypothetical question – what would the Plaintiffs have done with their money if they had not bought the shop? If they are compensated for the fall in value of the shop, are they not being compensated for a loss which they would have suffered even if the Defendants had not been at fault, and therefore being over-compensated?’


Donaldson LJ, Megaw LJ


[1980] 1 WLR 433, [1980] 1 All ER 928, [1979] EWCA Civ 4




England and Wales


CitedLiesbosch Dredger (Owners of) v Owners of SS Edison, The Liesbosch HL 28-Feb-1933
The ship Edison fouled the moorings of the Liesbosch resulting in the total loss of the dredger when it sank. It had been engaged on work in the harbour under contract with the harbour board. All the owners’ liquid resources were engaged in the . .
ApprovedRadford v De Froberville 2-Jan-1977
A contract was made for the sale of a plot of land adjoining a house belonging to the plaintiff (the vendor) but occupied by his tenants, under which the defendant (the purchaser) undertook to build a house on the plot and also to erect a wall to a . .
CitedPhilips v Ward CA 1956
The Plaintiff had relied on a negligent survey to purchase a substantial Elizabethan property and land. The report did not mention that the timbers of the house were badly affected by death watch beetle and worm so that the only course left to him . .

Cited by:

CitedLagden v O’Connor HL 4-Dec-2003
The parties had been involved in a road traffic accident. The defendant drove into the claimant’s parked car. The claimant was unable to afford to hire a car pending repairs being completed, and arranged to hire a car on credit. He now sought . .
CitedSmith New Court Securities Ltd v Scrimgeour Vickers HL 21-Nov-1996
The defendant had made misrepresentations, inducing the claimant to enter into share transactions which he would not otherwise have entered into, and which lost money.
Held: A deceitful wrongdoer is properly liable for all actual damage . .
CitedGolden Strait Corporation v Nippon Yusen Kubishka Kaisha (‘The Golden Victory’) HL 28-Mar-2007
The claimant sought damages for repudiation of a charterparty. The charterpary had been intended to continue until 2005. The charterer repudiated the contract and that repudiation was accepted, but before the arbitrator could set his award, the Iraq . .
CitedWatts and Co v Morrow CA 30-Jul-1991
The plaintiff had bought a house on the faith of the defendant’s report that there were only limited defects requiring repair. In fact the defects were much more extensive. The defendant surveyor appealed against an award of damages after his . .
CitedAlcoa Minerals of Jamaica Inc v Herbert Broderick PC 20-Mar-2000
(Jamaica) Damage had been caused to the claimant’s property, but, because of his lack of funds, he was dependent upon the receipt of the damages to carry out the works of repair necessary. By the time the matter came to trial, inflation meant that . .
CitedCounty Personnel (Employment Agency) Ltd v Alan R Pulver and Co (a Firm) CA 1987
The claimant sought damages after his negligent solicitors had saddled him with a ruinous underlease. They had had to buy themselves out of the lease. The court considered the date at which damages were to be calculated.
Held: The starting . .
CitedJoyce v Bowman Law Ltd ChD 18-Feb-2010
The claimant asserted negligence by the defendant licensed conveyancers in not warning him of the effect of an option in the contract. He had been advised that it would allow him to choose to buy additional land, but it was in fact a put option. The . .
CitedDowns and Another v Chappell and Another CA 3-Apr-1996
The plaintiffs had suceeded in variously establishing claims in deceit and negligence, but now appealed against the finding that no damages had flowed from the wrongs. They had been sold a business on the basis of incorrect figures.
Held: . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Damages, Negligence

Updated: 23 March 2022; Ref: scu.188649