Livingstone v Rawyards Coal Co: HL 13 Feb 1880

Damages or removal of coal under land

User damages were awarded for the unauthorised removal of coal from beneath the appellant’s land, even though the site was too small for the appellant to have mined the coal himself. The appellant was also awarded damages for the damage done to the houses on the surface. If damages are to be awarded at all, the aim must be to put an injured party: ‘in the same position as he would have been in if he had not suffered the wrong for which he is now getting his compensation or reparation’
Lord Blackburne said: ‘I do not think there is any difference of opinion as to its being a general rule that, where any injury is to be compensated by damages, in settling the sum of money to be given for reparation of damages you should as nearly as possible get that sum of money which will put the party who has been injured, or who has suffered, in the same position as he would have been in if he had not sustained the wrong for which he is now getting his compensation or reparation. That must be qualified by a great many things which may arise – such, for instance, as by the consideration whether the damage has been maliciously done, or whether it has been done with full knowledge that the person doing it was doing wrong. There could be no doubt that there you would say that everything would be taken into view that would go most against the wilful wrongdoer–many things which you would properly allow in favour of an innocent mistaken trespasser would be disallowed as against a wilful and intentional trespasser on the ground that he must not qualify his own wrong, and various things of that sort.’


Lord Blackburne


(1880) 5 App Cas 25, [1880] UKHL 3, [1880] UKHL 387, 17 SLR 387, 5 App Cas 253


Bailii, Bailii




Appeal fromLivingstone v The Rawyards Coal Co SCS 20-May-1879
. .

Cited by:

CitedKennedy v K B Van Emden and Co; Jordan v Gershon Young Finer and Green and Similar CA 27-Mar-1996
A solicitor failed in 1983 to advise a purchaser of the fact that premium she was paying on purchasing a leasehold flat was unlawful under the Act, and would be unrecoverable on the sale. Before trial however, in 1989 the law changed and the premium . .
CitedFarley v Skinner HL 11-Oct-2001
The claimant sought damages from the defendant surveyor. He had asked the defendant whether the house he was to buy was subject to aircraft noise. After re-assurance, he bought the house. The surveyor was wrong and negligent. A survey would not . .
CitedLongden v British Coal Corporation HL 13-Mar-1997
The plaintiff was injured whilst at work in one of the defendant’s collieries. The House considered the deductibility from damages awarded for personal injury of a collateral benefit.
Held: The issue of deductibility where the claim is for . .
CitedMcKinnon and another v E Survey Ltd (formerly known as GA Valuation and Survey Ltd) ChD 14-Jan-2003
The claimants purchased a house relying upon a survey by the defendants. Although the defendants reported long standing movement of the property, the defendants failed to report that to be saleable, a long investigation would be required, reducing . .
CitedRees 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 . .
CitedSmith New Court Securities Ltd v Scrimgeour Vickers HL 21-Nov-1996
The defendant had made misrepresentations, inducing the claimant to enter into share transactions which he would not otherwise have entered into, and which lost money.
Held: A deceitful wrongdoer is properly liable for all actual damage . .
CitedAlfred Mcalpine Construction Limited v Panatown Limited HL 17-Feb-2000
A main contractor who was building not on his own land, would only be free to claim damages from a sub-contractor for defects in the building where the actual owner of the land would not also have had a remedy. Here, the land owner was able to sue . .
CitedCantwell v Criminal Injuries Compensation Board HL 5-Jul-2001
When calculating the losses suffered by a victim of crime, the allowance to be made for losses to a retirement pension through having to retire early should have set off against them, the benefits received by way of payments for his ill-health, . .
CitedCollins Stewart Ltd and Another v The Financial Times Ltd QBD 20-Oct-2004
The claimants sought damages for defamation. The claimed that the article had caused very substantial losses (andpound;230 million) to them by affecting their market capitalisation value. The defendant sought to strike out that part of the claim. . .
CitedParry 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 . .
CitedGilbert and Another (T/A Woods Farm Christmas Trees) v British Waterways Board TCC 15-Dec-2005
The respondent was responsible for a canal which overflowed onto the claimant’s land causing damage to the claimant’s business providing christmas trees. The defendant criticised the lack of accounting records.
Held: The claimants operated . .
CitedCatlin Estates Ltd and Another v Carter Jonas (A Firm) TCC 31-Oct-2005
The defendants had been employed to manage a building project which it was said went wrong. The court had to consider several different factual claims. . .
CitedDevenish Nutrition Ltd v Sanofi-Aventis Sa (France) and others CA 14-Oct-2008
The defendant had been involved in price fixing arrangements, and the claimant sought damages for breach of its proprietary rights. The claimant appealed refusal of an award an account of profits for what was akin to a breach of statutory duty.
CitedChagger v Abbey National Plc and Another CA 13-Nov-2009
The claimant appealed against the limitation of 2% placed on the uplift of his award of damages for having failed to comply with relevant dispute procedures. The tribunal had found exceptional reasons for reducing the uplift given the size of the . .
CitedCounty Personnel (Employment Agency) Ltd v Alan R Pulver and Co (a Firm) CA 1987
The claimant sought damages after his negligent solicitors had saddled him with a ruinous underlease. They had had to buy themselves out of the lease. The court considered the date at which damages were to be calculated.
Held: The starting . .
CitedA v B Hospitals NHS Trust Admn 10-Nov-2006
The claimant baby had suffered catastrophic injuries at birth in the defendant’s hospital. Liability having been admitted, the court now considered whether damages should be paid as a lump sum or by periodical payments.
Held: ‘ the form of . .
CitedAIB Group (UK) Plc v Mark Redler and Co Solicitors SC 5-Nov-2014
Bank not to recover more than its losses
The court was asked as to the remedy available to the appellant bank against the respondent, a firm of solicitors, for breach of the solicitors’ custodial duties in respect of money entrusted to them for the purpose of completing a loan which was to . .
CitedBacciottini and Another v Gotelee and Goldsmith (A Firm) CA 18-Mar-2016
A property subject to a planning condition was purchased by the appellant under the advice of the respondent, who failed to notify him of the existence of a planning condition. The judge had awarded the claimant pounds 250 being the cost of the . .
CitedDowns and Another v Chappell and Another CA 3-Apr-1996
The plaintiffs had suceeded in variously establishing claims in deceit and negligence, but now appealed against the finding that no damages had flowed from the wrongs. They had been sold a business on the basis of incorrect figures.
Held: . .
CitedHeil v Rankin CA 13-Jun-2000
Where supervening events might contribute to the personal injury suffered, the proper approach in apportioning compensation in respect of one occasion was in general terms to provide just and sufficient compensation for the injury caused without . .
CitedPickett v British Rail Engineering HL 2-Nov-1978
Lost Earnings claim Continues after Death
The claimant, suffering from mesothelioma, had claimed against his employers and won, but his claim for loss of earnings consequent upon his anticipated premature death was not allowed. He began an appeal, but then died. His personal representatives . .
CitedMorris-Garner and Another v One Step (Support) Ltd SC 18-Apr-2018
The Court was asked in what circumstances can damages for breach of contract be assessed by reference to the sum that the claimant could hypothetically have received in return for releasing the defendant from the obligation which he failed to . .
CitedWhittington Hospital NHS Trust v XX SC 1-Apr-2020
A negligent delay in the diagnosis of her cancer left the clamant dependent on paid for surrogacy arrangements. Three issues were raised; could damages to fund surrogacy arrangements using the claimant’s own eggs be recovered? Second, if so, could . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Damages, Torts – Other

Leading Case

Updated: 11 October 2022; Ref: scu.180640