Mitchil v Alestree: 1726

In an action upon the case brought against the defendant, for that he did ride an horse into a place called Lincoln’s Inn Fields, (a place much frequented by the King’s subjects, and unapt for such purposes) for the breaking and taming of him, and that the horse was so unruly, that he broke from the defendant, and ran over the plaintiff, and grievously hurt him, to his damages, andC.
Upon not guilty pleaded, and a verdict for the plaintiff, it was moved by Simpson in arrest of judgment, that here is no cause of action: for it appears by the declaration, that the mischief which happened was against the defendant’s will, and so damnum absque injuria; and then not shewn what right the King’s subjects had to walk there; and if a man digs a pit in a common into which one that has no right to come there, falls in, no action lies in such case.
Curia contra, It was the defendant’s fault, to bring a wild horse into such a place where mischief might probably be done, by reason of the concourse of people. Lately, in this Court an action was brought against a butcher, who had made an ox run from his stall and gored the plaintiff; and this was alledged in the declaration to be in default of penning of him.
Wylde said: ‘If a man hath an unruly horse in his stable, and leaves open the stable-door, whereby the horse goes forth and does mischief; an action lies against the master.’
Twisden: ‘If one hath kept a tame fox, which gets loose and grows wild, he that kept him before shall not answer for the damage the fox doth after he hath lost him, and he hath resumed his wild nature.’


Twisden, Wylde JJ


[1726] EngR 590, (1726) 1 Vent 295, (1726) 86 ER 190 (B)



Cited by:

CitedWoodland v Essex County Council CA 9-Mar-2012
The claimant had been injured in a swimming pool during a lesson. The lesson was conducted by outside independent contractors. The claimant appealed against a finding that his argument that they had a non-delegable duty of care was bound to fail. . .
CitedFarraj and Another v King’s Healthcare NHS Trust (KCH) and Another CA 13-Nov-2009
The claimant parents each carried a gene making any child they bore liable to suffer a serious condition. On a pregnancy the mother’s blood was sent for testing to the defendants who sent it on to the second defendants. The condition was missed, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Negligence, Vicarious Liability, Animals

Updated: 05 May 2022; Ref: scu.379170