In re Polemis and Furness, Withy and Co: CA 1921

There was an exception in a time Charterparty for ‘fire . . always mutually accepted.’
Held: These words were not sufficient to exclude damage caused by a fire due to the negligent act of stevedores (the charterers’ agents) in the course of loading, since there was no express stipulation to that effect.
A wrongdoer was liable for all the direct consequences of his negligent act, even though those consequences could not reasonably have been anticipated. ‘Once the act is negligent, the fact that its exact operation was not foreseen is immaterial.’


Scrutton L.J


[1921] 3 KB 560, [1921] All ER 40, 126 LT 154


England and Wales

Cited by:

MentionedLagden 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 . .
OverturnedOverseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Morts Dock and Engineering Co Ltd (The Wagon Mound No 1) PC 18-Jan-1961
Foreseeability Standard to Establish Negligence
Complaint was made that oil had been discharged into Sydney Harbour causing damage. The court differentiated damage by fire from other types of physical damage to property for the purposes of liability in tort, saying ‘We have come back to the plain . .
AppliedCowan v National Coal Board 1958
An employee of the defenders suffered an injury to his eye in the course of his employment. He became nervous and depressed and committed suicide about four months after the accident. His widow and children sought damages from the National Coal . .
CitedJones v Livox Quarries CA 25-Apr-1952
The plaintiff had ridden on the back of a kind of tractor in a quarry and in defiance of his employer’s instructions, risking being thrown off and injured. Another vehicle ran into the back of the first vehicle, injuring the plaintiff. He contended . .
CitedCorr v IBC Vehicles Ltd CA 31-Mar-2006
The deceased had suffered a head injury whilst working for the defendant. In addition to severe physical consequences he suffered post-traumatic stress, became more and more depressed, and then committed suicide six years later. The claimant . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Damages, Negligence

Updated: 23 March 2022; Ref: scu.188647