W Lamb Limited (Trading As The Premier Pump and Tank Company) v J Jarvis and Sons Plc: TCC 31 Jul 1998

Contractors built a petrol station, and sub-contractors the underground piping. Leaks developed, and it was agreed to complete repairs, and apportion financial repairs through the court proceedings. In a case where a judge found it difficult to apportion blame, he could return to rely upon the question of onus. The parties had not alleged contributory negligence, and no apportionment could be made under the Act. There had been no sufficient agreement as to apportionment to prevent the judge reading it as necessary to give it business sense. Where there was multiple causation of damage, it was appropriate to distribute responsibility accordingly.
Court Service The Plaintiff, as sub-contractor to the Defendant, installed the pipework for a petrol filling station. The Defendant was responsible for the concrete supporting and surrounding the pipework. The pipework developed leaks and had to be replaced. The parties had agreed that the replacement works be carried out, reserving their positions as to the expense, for which each sought to make the other liable. The current trial was of liability only. In substance the only issue was whether the pipes failed because of faulty workmanship by the Plaintiff or because of the acts or omissions of the Defendant.
Held: (i) the failure was caused equally by the defaults of the Plaintiff and the Defendant; (ii) there was no rule of law which prevented effect from being given to that finding; (iii) the Defendant should pay one third of the Plaintiff’s costs of the trial.


Judge Hicks QC


[1998] EWHC Technology 304




Civil Liability (Contributions) Act 1978


England and Wales


CitedMorris v London Iron and Steel Co Ltd CA 1987
In exceptional cases, a judge conscientiously seeking to decide the issues between the parties might have to conclude ‘I just do not know’. . .
CitedTennant Radiant Heat Ltd v Warrington Development Corporation 1988
A property comprised a large building let on fully repairing leases of 22 units. The many rain outlets were allowed to become blocked, and water accumulated above one unit before that part of the roof collapsed. The landlord appealed a finding that . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Construction, Evidence, Damages

Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.135885