Loftus-Brigham and Another v London Borough of Ealing: CA 28 Oct 2003

The claimants sought to recover for damages caused to their house foundations by trees growing nearby which were the responsibility of the defendants. The defendants replied that the damages was caused in part by roots from virgina creeper and wisteria grown by the claimants themselves and growing on the house.
Held: It is neither necessary nor appropriate to look for special causal rules applying to cases involving trees. The judge required the claimants to establish that the damage from the tree roots was the dominant cause, and had erred. The test is whether the trees were an effective and substantial cause of the recent damage.


Lord Justice Buxton, Lord Justice Chadwick


[2003] EWCA Civ 1490




England and Wales


CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedBonnington Castings Ltd v Wardlaw HL 1-Mar-1956
The injury of which the employee complained came from two sources, a pneumatic hammer, in respect of which the employers were not in breach of the relevant Regulations; and swing grinders, in respect of which they were in breach.
Held: It had . .
CitedPaterson and Another v Humberside County Council QBD 19-Apr-1995
A local authority was liable for nuisance for damage (cracks to house) caused by tree roots once it could be shown that it knew of the soil condition, by virtue of the council’s own warnings to residents of the danger in the area meant that the . .
FollowedKuwait Airways Corporation v Iraqi Airways Company and Others (Nos 4 and 5) HL 16-May-2002
After the invasion of Kuwait, the Iraqi government had dissolved Kuwait airlines, and appropriated several airplanes. Four planes were destroyed by Allied bombing, and 6 more were appropriated again by Iran.
Held: The appeal failed. No claim . .
CitedGaloo Ltd and Others v Bright Grahame Murray CA 21-Dec-1993
It is for the Court to decide whether the breach of duty was the cause of a loss or simply the occasion for it by the application of common sense. A breach of contract, to found recovery, must be shown to have been ‘an ‘effective’ or ‘dominant’ . .
CitedCommissioner of Police for the Metropolis v Reeves (Joint Administratix of The Estate of Martin Lynch, Deceased) HL 15-Jul-1999
The deceased was a prisoner known to be at risk of committing suicide. Whilst in police custody he hanged himself in his prison cell. The Commissioner accepted that he was in breach of his duty of care to the deceased, but not that that breach was . .

Cited by:

CitedBerent v Family Mosaic Housing and Others TCC 25-May-2011
The claimant sought damages for subsidence to her property allegedly caused by the roots of trees on the defendants’ properties. Two large plane trees stood in the pavement outside the house and about 12 metres from it. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Nuisance

Updated: 24 April 2022; Ref: scu.187283