The defendant occupied premises above those of the plaintiff. Whilst the property was unattended, the water closet leaked, damaging the plaintiff’s goods on the ground floor. The waste pipe had been blocked by paper and there were other defects. None of the defects were patent, and the defendant had not been negligent.
Held: There was no obligation to ensure that water did not escape, and the defendants were not liable.
Lord Cairns LC
 26 LT 966, (1872) LR 7 QB 661
England and Wales
Explained – Rylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
Cited – Transco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 29 April 2022; Ref: scu.188010