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 performing all associated tasks.
Lord Denning MR said: ‘If Mr Tapp’s submissions were right, it would mean that if the inspector negligently passes the house as properly built and it collapses and injures a person, the council are liable : but if the owner discovers the defect in time to repair it – and he does repair it – the council are not liable. That is an impossible distinction. They are liable in either case’.
Lord Denning MR
 1 All ER 462,  2 WLR 299,  1 QB 373,  CLY 2352
England and Wales
Cited – Donoghue (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 . .
Cited – Dorset Yacht Co Ltd v Home Office HL 6-May-1970
A yacht was damaged by boys who had escaped from the supervision of prison officers in a nearby Borstal institution. The boat owners sued the Home Office alleging negligence by the prison officers.
Held: Any duty of a borstal officer to use . .
Cited – Rondel v Worsley HL 1967
Need for Advocate’s Immunity from Negligence
The appellant had obtained the services of the respondent barrister to defend him on a dock brief, and alleged that the respondent had been negligent in the conduct of his defence.
Held: The House considered the immunity from suit of . .
Cited – Launchbury v Morgans CA 1971
The wife owned the car. The husband who had drunk to excess drove the car with her permission, causing severe injury to the passengers and his own death. She was not present.
Held: From considerations of policy, as the owner of the family car . .
Cited – SCM (United Kingdom) Ltd v W J Whittall and Son Ltd CA 1970
The defendants’ workmen damaged an electric cable belonging to the electricity board, cutting off several factories, including the plaintiff’s. The defendant sought to have the claim struck out.
Held: The part of the claim arising from . .
Cited – Anns 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 . .
Cited – Murphy 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 . .
Cited – 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 . .
Cited – Rees v Darlington Memorial Hospital NHS Trust HL 16-Oct-2003
The claimant was disabled, and sought sterilisation because she feared the additional difficulties she would face as a mother. The sterilisation failed. She sought damages.
Held: The House having considered the issue in MacFarlane only . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 October 2021; Ref: scu.180551