Welsh v Stokes and Another: CA 27 Jul 2007

The claimant sued a riding stables after she was badly injured on being thrown from the horse provided. Her claim in negligence failed, but she succeeded under strict liabiilty under the 1971 Act, after the judge relied upon hearsay evidence.
Held: The appeal failed on either account. The judge had directed himself properly in his consideration of the weight to be accorded to the hearsay evidence, and had had regard to each of the factors in section 4(2) of the 1995 Act. As regards knowledge under section 2(b) under the 1971 Act: ‘I do not see why a keeper’s knowledge that a horse has the characteristic of normally behaving in a certain way in particular circumstances cannot be established by showing that the keeper knows that horses as a species normally behave in that way in those circumstances . . It is a general characteristic of horses to bolt in the particular circumstances of the facts of Mirvahedy, or to rear in the particular circumstances of the present case. It makes no sense to require a keeper, if aware of that general characteristic, to have some additional and more particular knowledge.’

Dyson, Thomas, Richards LJJ
[2007] EWCA Civ 796, [2008] 1 All ER 921, [2008] 1 WLR 1224, [2007] PIQR P27, (2007) 151 SJLB 1020, [2007] PIQR P27
Animals Act 1971 2(2), Civil Evidence Act 1995 1
England and Wales
CitedThe ‘Ferdinand Retzlaff’ 1971
The plaintiff shipowners claimed damages for detention following a collision with the defendants’ ship. There was an issue as to how long the ship repairs would have taken if they had been done at Bremen. The defendants adduced evidence on this . .
CitedThe ‘Kilmun’ 1988
Although the giving of evidence by way of statements under the Civil Evidence Act 1968 was convenient, ‘it is obvious that it is not a satisfactory way of resolving disputed issues of fact’. . .
CitedCummings v Grainger CA 1977
An untrained Alsatian dog was turned loose in a scrap-yard to deter intruders. The dog seriously injured the plaintiff who had entered the yard.
Held: The requirements of section 2(2) were satisfied but the defendant was entitled to rely upon . .
CitedPolanski v Conde Nast Publications Ltd HL 10-Feb-2005
The claimant wished to pursue his claim for defamation against the defendant, but was reluctant to return to the UK to give evidence, fearing arrest and extradition to the US. He appealed refusal of permission to be interviewed on video tape. Held . .
CitedMirvahedy v Henley and another HL 20-Mar-2003
The defendants’ horses escaped from the field, and were involved in an accident with the claimant’s car.
Held: The defendants were liable under section 2(2). To bolt was a characteristic of horses which was normal ‘in the particular . .
CitedBreeden v Lampard CA 21-Mar-1985
A riding accident occurred at a cubbing meet. The plaintiff’s leg was injured when the defendant’s horse kicked out. A claim was advanced under section 2. This horse, like any horse, was liable to kick out when approached too closely, or too . .

Cited by:
CitedFreeman v Higher Park Farm CA 30-Oct-2008
The claimant fell from a horse hired to her by the defendant. She claimed for her injuries, and appealed rejection of her claim in strict liability under the 1971 Act. The horse was known to be lively and occasionally to buck, but the claimant was a . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Litigation Practice, Animals

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.258427