Gray v Thames Trains Ltd and Another: CA 25 Jun 2008

The claimant was a victim of the Ladbroke Grove rail crash. He later committed and was convicted of a manslaughter and detained under the 1983 Act. He said that the accident had caused a major personality change. The defendant relied on the defence of ex turpi causa non oritur actio.
Held: The claimant’s appeal succeeded. Where, as in this case the claim, was not founded on an illegal act, the question was whether the relevant loss was so inextricably bound up with or closely connected to the claimant’s illegal or criminal conduct that the court could not permit him to recover without appearing to condone that conduct. The claim here was for loss of earnings alone. That claim was not so intimately connected as to be defeated. Where there was any connection the 1945 Act could be applied properly to prevent any claim based on the claimant’s contribution.


Sir Anthony Clarke MR, Tuckey LJ, Smit LJ


[2008] EWCA Civ 713, Times 09-Jul-2008, [2009] 2 WLR 351




Mental Health Act 1983 37, Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945


England and Wales


CitedHolman v Johnson 5-Jul-1775
ex turpi causa non oritur actio
A claim was made for the price of goods which the plaintiff sold to the defendant in Dunkirk, knowing that the defendant’s purpose was to smuggle the goods into England. The plaintiff was met with a defence of illegality.
Held: The defence . .
CitedBowmakers Ltd v Barnet Instruments Ltd CA 1945
An action was brought for the wrongful conversion of machine tools delivered under hire purchase agreements which contravened wartime statutory orders. The plaintiff established its legal title to the goods at issue without relying upon the illegal . .
CitedTinsley v Milligan HL 28-Jun-1993
Two women parties used funds generated by a joint business venture to buy a house in which they lived together. It was vested in the sole name of the plaintiff but on the understanding that they were joint beneficial owners. The purpose of the . .
CitedCorr v IBC Vehicles Ltd HL 27-Feb-2008
The claimant’s husband had committed suicide. She sought damages for financial loss from his former employers under the 1976 Act. He had suffered a severe and debilitating injury working for them leading to his depression and suicide. The employers . .
CitedHewison v Meridian Shipping Pte, Coflexip Stena Offshore Ltd, Flex Installer Offshore Ltd CA 11-Dec-2002
The claimant was awarded damages for injuries suffered in his work as a seaman. The respondents claimed that he should not receive damages, since he had made false declarations as to his health in order to obtain employment, hiding his epilepsy . .
CitedVellino v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police CA 31-Jul-2001
The police were not under any duty to protect someone who had been arrested from injuring himself in an attempt to escape. The claimant had a history of seeking to avoid capture by jumping from his flat window. On this occasion he injured himself in . .
Appeal fromGray v Thames Trains Ltd and Another QBD 6-Jul-2007
The claimant had been injured in an accident for which the defendants were responsible. He developed a personality disorder which led to him committing manslaughter and being detained under section 37. The defendants denied being liable beyond the . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromGray v Thames Trains and Others HL 17-Jun-2009
The claimant suffered psychiatric injury in a rail crash caused by the defendant’s negligence. Under this condition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the claimant had later gone on to kill another person, and he had been detained under section 41. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other

Updated: 17 July 2022; Ref: scu.270370