Salsbury v Woodland: CA 1970

The defendant had instructed independent contractors to remove a large tree in his garden. When they did so, the plaintiff was injured when the car he was in was fouled in a wire brought down by the tree. The defendant householder appealed against a finding of liability saying that he should not be held responsible for the acts of a competent independent contractor.
Held: The activity of removing the tree was not an extra-hazardous activity so as to make the defendant liable. Extra-hazardous activities for which a land owner might responsible even though the activities were carried out by an independent contractor, were those ‘activities which are dangerous even if carried out with caution by those skilled in the activity’. And ‘There are indeed certain categories of cases in which an occupier is under such a primary duty to others that he in effect warrants the safety of his property against those who are injured by what happens upon it, or alternatively is personally responsible for having any work on it done in a competent manner even if he selected a competent independent contractor.’


Widgery LJ, Harman LJ, Sachs LJ


[1970] 1 KB 191, [1969] EWCA Civ 1, [1969] 3 All ER 863, [1969] 3 WLR 29




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBottomley v Todmorden Cricket Club CA 7-Nov-2003
The claimant was very badly injured at a bonfire organised by the defendants. He had been asked to help with a part of the display, organised by sub-contractors, which exploded as he was filling it.
Held: The nature of the activity to be . .
CitedWoodland v Essex County Council SC 23-Oct-2013
The claimant had been seriously injured in an accident during a swimming lesson. She sought to claim against the local authority, and now appealed against a finding that it was not responsible, having contracted out the provision of swimming . .
CitedBarclays Bank Plc v Various Claimants SC 1-Apr-2020
The Bank had employed a doctor to provide medical assessments as necessary. The doctor had used the opportunities presented to assault sexually many patients. The court was now asked whether the Bank was vicariously liable for the acts of this . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Negligence, Torts – Other

Updated: 07 August 2022; Ref: scu.187567