Vaughan v The Taff Vale Railway Company: 20 Nov 1858

A wood adjoining the defendants’ railway was set alight and burned by sparks from the locomotives. On several previous occasions it had been set on fire, and the Company had paid for the damage. Evidence was given that the defendants had done everything that was practicable to the locomotives to make them safe, but it was admitted that even with these precautions the locomotives had been the means of occasionally setting fire to the wood. The banks of the railway were covered with inflammable grass. The jury found the Company guilty of negligence.
Held: First, that, assuming the fire to have been caused by lighted coals from the locomotives falling in the plaintiff’s wood, the defendants were liable. – Secondly, that they were not excused by the Railway Clauses Consolidation Act, 8 and 9 Vict c. 20, s. 86 – Thirdly, that if the fire broke out on the defendants’ land and was communicated to the wood from the banks of the railway, there was evidence to justify the verdict, and that the defendants were not protected by the 14 Geo 3, c 78, s. 84 – Fourthly, that it was no defence that the plaintiff had allowed his wood to become peculiarly liable to take fire by neglecting to clear away the dry grass and dead sticks.

[1858] EngR 1160, (1858) 3 H and N 743, (1858) 157 ER 667
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromVaughan v The Taff Vale Railway Company 12-May-1860
A railway Company, authorized by the legislature to use locomotive engines, is not responsible for damage from fire occasioned by sparks emitted from an engine travelling on their railway, provided they have taken every precaution in their power and . .
CitedSmith v The London and South Western Railway Company 1869
Negligence requires duty to injured
Workmen, employed by the defendant railway company to cut the grass and trim hedges bordering the railway, placed the trimmings in heaps near the line, and allowed them to remain there for fourteen days, during very hot weather in the month of . .
CitedSmith v The London and South Western Railway Company 1870
Blackburn J said: ‘I take it that, since the case of Vaughan v Taff Vale Ry Co, which was expressly affirmed in Brand v Hammersmith Ry Co, it is clear that when a railway company is authorized by their Act of parliament to run engines on their line, . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 19 January 2022; Ref: scu.289631