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 contract, and their deposit under the contract was forfeit if the work was delayed. They were unable to raise the funds that were needed to buy another dredger, so they hired another, the Adria, which was more expensive to hire and work. Due entirely to their lack of means, the owners incurred much more expense in the provision of an alternative dredger than they would have done if they had been able to purchase an equivalent. The owners of the Liesbosch claimed their actual loss, on the basis that all the circumstances should be taken into account and they had acted reasonably in hiring the Italian vessel in view of their financial embarrassment.
Held: The sum awarded as damages was restricted to the market price of a comparable dredger at the time of the loss, together with the cost of transporting her and insuring her to Patras. The court should not take into account a claimant’s want of means when assessing the amount of his loss. The principle enunciated in the Clippens oil case was as to the existence of any duty of mitigation.
Lord Wright said that: ‘it follows that the value of the Liesbosch to the appellants, capitalized as at the date of the loss, must be assessed by taking into account: (1.) the market price of a comparable dredger in substitution; (2.) costs of adaptation, transport, insurance, etc., to Patras; (3.) compensation for disturbance and loss in carrying out their contract over the period of delay between the loss of the Liesbosch and the time at which the substituted dredger could reasonably have been available for use in Patras, including in that loss such items as overhead charges, expenses of staff and equipment, and so forth thrown away, but neglecting any special loss due to the appellants’ financial position.’
 AC 449,  All ER Rep 144,  149 LT 49,  UKHL 2
England and Wales
Distinguished – Clippens Oil Co v Edinburgh and District Water Trustees HL 1907
A wrongdoer must take his victim as he finds him, and be answerable for the consequences which actually flow from his wrongful act.
Lord Collins said: ‘In my opinion the wrongdoer must take his victim talem qualem, and if the position of the . .
Cited – The Harmonides 1903
The measure of damages for the loss of a profitable ship is to include its economic value: ‘So that the real test, where there is no market is, as counsel on both sides agree, what is the value to the owners as a going concern, at the time the . .
Cited – Smith and Another v South Gloucestershire Council CA 31-Jul-2002
The claimants purchased land. The local search did not reveal a planning permission which affected the value of the property by applying an occupancy condition. He claimed compensation. Compensation was eventually agreed to be payable, but the . .
Cited – Ali Reza-Delta Transport Co Ltd v United Arab Shipping Co Sag CA 17-Jun-2003
The case had concluded. Offers of settlement had been made and the operative one included an offer on the interest payable. The court came to decide how the interest part of the offer was to be considered when assessing whether the judgment bettered . .
Overruled – Lagden 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 . .
Distinguished – Alcoa 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 . .
Followed – Ramwade Ltd v W J Emson and Co Ltd CA 1987
The plaintiffs had been obliged to hire vehicles to perform the work carried out by their skip lorry which had been damaged beyond repair in a road accident. Their insurance brokers had, contrary to instructions, failed to procure a comprehensive . .
Cited – 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 . .
Confined – Perry v Sidney Phillips and Son CA 1982
In 1982 the surveyor failed to observe serious defects, including a leaking roof and a septic tank with an offensive smell. The plaintiff purchaser could not afford major repairs and executed only minor repairs himself. At the date of the trial the . .
Cited – Radford 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 . .
Cited – HM Revenue and Customs, Regina (on the Application of) v Raymond Machell QC and others Admn 21-Nov-2005
The claimant had had goods taken and destroyed by Revenue and Customs, which had been found to be wrongfully condemned. They had been awarded the market value of the goods at UK prices, though they had been bought in France.
Held: The market . .
Cited – Parry v Cleaver HL 5-Feb-1969
PI Damages not Reduced for Own Pension
The plaintiff policeman was disabled by the negligence of the defendant and received a disablement pension. Part had been contributed by himself and part by his employer.
Held: The plaintiff’s appeal succeeded. Damages for personal injury were . .
Cited – Compania Financiera v Hamoor Tanker Corporation (‘the Borag’) CA 1981
The managers had taken on the management of the ship. In the course of a dispute, the managers had the ship arrested whilst in Capetown. The owners had to obtain a bank guarantee to secure its release, and sought the interest payments on the . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 January 2021; Ref: scu.182979