Hardy v Washington Green Fine Art Publishing Company Ltd: CA 9 Mar 2010

The claimant’s husband had bought a Rolf Harris picture from an art gallery, but left it with them for safe keeping. The gallery was said to have been taken over by the defendants. The painting was noticed to be missing but the claimant was not informed. The art gallery itself was put into administration, and the defendants now denied that the art gallery had been its subsidiary. The court drew an adverse inference from the defendant’s principal to deal with the court directly.
Held: The court had gone further than it should in finding dishonesty in the principal. It had not been alleged against him personally, and could not stand. There was evidence that the stock of the two defendant companies had been mixed, and other works had been returned to the claimant in packaging identifying the defendant. However the evidence together was not sufficient to satisfy the burden which fell on the claimant to establish that the painting had been in the custody of the defendant. The appeal was allowed.
Longmore LJ
[2010] EWCA Civ 198
England and Wales
CitedBritish Railways Board v Herrington HL 16-Feb-1972
Land-owner’s Possible Duty to Trespassers
The plaintiff, a child had gone through a fence onto the railway line, and been badly injured. The Board knew of the broken fence, but argued that they owed no duty to a trespasser.
Held: Whilst a land-owner owes no general duty of care to a . .

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Updated: 09 July 2021; Ref: scu.402551