Moore v R Fox and Sons: CA 1956

The plaintiff, a workman in the course of his employment, was injured by an unexplained explosion.
Held: The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applied, no explanation for the explosion having been offered. ‘Res ipsa loquitur’ is a rule of evidence based upon common sense.
Lord Evershed MR said: ‘It will be necessary, therefore, for me to consider in some detail the evidence produced before the judge. But I will anticipate at once my conclusions. If, as the judge thought, this was a case of res ipsa loquitur,that is, a case in which this accident having regard to all the circumstances in which it occurred, spoke for itself and led to the inference of negligence, then, with all respect to him, I do not agree with his conclusion that the defendants thereafter discharged that onus by calling four expert witnesses, the result of whose evidence was, after all, that the accident was inexplicable.’ and ‘It must, as I venture to think, always be a question whether upon proof of the happening of the particular event, it can with truth be said that the thing speaks for itself. The event or thing offending, may, or may not, produce that result. Not every accident has, without more, that effect. If, on a closer analysis of the happening and in circumstances, it does not in truth appear fairly to follow that the proper inference is one of negligence, then the case is not one of res ipsa loquitur at all’.


Lord Evershed MR


[1956] 1 QB 596

Cited by:

CitedDevine v Colvilles Ltd HL 11-Mar-1969
The House considered the position of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitir. The plaintiff had been injured falling or jumping from a raised platform.
Held: The claim succeeded. ‘ I hold it proved that there was a general panic. Now the defenders . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Evidence

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.554759