Perrett v Collins, Underwood PFA (Ulair) Limited (T/a Popular Flying Association): CA 22 May 1998

The plaintiff was a passenger in an aircraft which crashed, and there was a preliminary issue as to the liability to him of those who certified that the aircraft was fit to fly. The propeller was mismatched to the gearbox.
Held: A certifying authority and its inspector were both liable in negligence having certified an experimental aircraft as fit to be flown, and the duty extended to any passenger who was carried in the aircraft. ‘What the second and third defendants seek to achieve in this case is to extend the decisions upon ‘economic’ loss to cases of personal injuries. It represents a fundamental attack upon the principle of tortious liability for negligent conduct which has caused foreseeable personal injury to others. That such a point should be considered to be even arguable shows how far some of the fundamental principles of the law of negligence have come to be eroded.’ and ‘The denial of a duty of care owed by such a person in relation to the safety of the aircraft towards those who may suffer personal injuries, whether as passengers in the aircraft or upon the ground, would leave a gap in the law of tort notwithstanding that a plaintiff has suffered foreseeable personal injury as a result of the unsafety of the aircraft and the unreasonable careless conduct of the defendant. It would be remarkable if that were the law.’
Hobhouse LJ said: ‘It is a truism to say that any case must be decided taking into account the circumstances of the case, but where those circumstances comply with established categories of liability, a defendant should not be allowed to seek to escape from liability by appealing to some vaguer concept of justice or fairness; the law cannot be re-made for every case. Indeed, the previous authorities have by necessary implication held that it is fair, just and reasonable that the plaintiff should recover in the situations falling within the principles they have applied.’
‘Marc Rich should not be regarded as an authority which has a relevance to cases of personal injury or as adding any requirements that an injured plaintiff do more than bring his case within established principles. If a plaintiff is attempting to establish some novel principle of liability, then the situation would be different.’


Hobhouse LJ, Swinton Thomas LJ


Times 23-Jun-1998, 1999 SLT 224, [1998] EWCA Civ 884, [1998] 2 Lloyd’s LR 255, 1999 SCLR 126, (1999) 1 TCLR 1, [1999] BLR 35, [1999] Lloyds Rep IR 105, [1999] 1 WLR 9




Air Navigation Order 1989


England and Wales


CitedAdler v Dickson; ‘the Himalaya’ CA 29-Oct-1954
The defendants were the master and boatswain of the P and O passenger liner Himalaya. The plaintiff was a passenger who was injured when an insecure gangway slipped and he fell 16ft to the wharf. The plaintiff had a contract with P and O which . .
CitedMarc Rich and Co Ag and Others v Bishop Rock Marine Co Ltd and Others HL 6-Jul-1995
A surveyor acting on behalf of the classification society had recommended that after repairs specified by him had been carried out a vessel, the Nicholas H, should be allowed to proceed. It was lost at sea.
Held: The marine classification . .

Cited by:

ConsideredMichael Alexander Watson v British Boxing Board of Control Ltd, World Boxing Organisation Incorporated CA 19-Dec-2000
The claimant was seriously injured in a professional boxing match governed by rules established by the defendant’s rules. Ringside medical facilities were available, but did not provide immediate resuscitation. By the time he received resuscitation . .
CitedBinod Sutradhar v Natural Environment Research Council CA 20-Feb-2004
The defendant council had carried out research into a water supply in India in the 1980s. The claimant drank the water, and claimed damages for having consumed arsenic in it.
Held: There is a close link between the tests in law for proximity . .
CitedSutradhar v Natural Environment Research Council HL 5-Jul-2006
Preliminary Report of Risk – No Duty of Care
The claimant sought damages after suffering injury after the creation of water supplies which were polluted with arsenic. He said that a report had identified the risks. The defendant said that the report was preliminary only and could not found a . .
CitedPortsmouth Youth Activities Committee (A Charity) v Poppleton CA 12-Jun-2008
The claimant was injured climbing without ropes (‘bouldering’) at defendant’s activity centre. The defendant appealed against a finding of 25% responsibility in having failed to warn climbers that the existence of thick foam would not remove all . .
CitedGeary v JD Wetherspoon Plc QBD 14-Jun-2011
The claimant, attempting to slide down the banisters at the defendants’ premises, fell 4 metres suffering severe injury. She claimed in negligence and occupiers’ liability. The local council had waived a requirement that the balustrade meet the . .
CitedRobinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police SC 8-Feb-2018
Limits to Police Exemption from Liability
The claimant, an elderly lady was bowled over and injured when police were chasing a suspect through the streets. As they arrested him they fell over on top of her. She appealed against refusal of her claim in negligence.
Held: Her appeal . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Professional Negligence, Negligence, Personal Injury

Updated: 19 November 2022; Ref: scu.144363