Yarmouth v France: CA 11 Aug 1887

The plaintiff was employed by the defendant to drive carts. He objected that the horse had a vicious nature, but was obliged to drive it in any event. The horse kicked him.
Held: For the purposes of the 1880 Act, the plaintiff was an employee, the horse was plant in the employer’s business and its character was a defect in that plant. ‘plant’ includes whatever apparatus or instruments are used by a business man in carrying on his business. The employer was liable in negligence, and ‘The maxim Volenti non fit injuria was not wanted as between master and servant. It was only wanted, if at all, where no such relation as that of master and servant existed.’ Where the plaintiff knew of a defect: ‘mere knowledge of the danger will not do: there must be an assent on the part of the workman to accept the risk, with a full appreciation of its extent, to bring the workman within the maxim Volenti non fit injuria. If so, that is a question of fact.’
Lord Esher MR said: ‘I detest the attempt to fetter the law by maxims. They are almost invariably misleading; they are for the most part so large and general in their language that they always include something which really is not intended to be included in them.’

Lord Esher MR, Lindley LJ, and Lopes LJ (dissenting)
[1887] 19 QB D 647, 57 LJQB 7 (QBD)
Employers’ Liability Act 1880 10
England and Wales
DistinguishedThomas v Quartermaine CA 1887
Employer’s duty to his workman injured at work
The court considered an employer’s duty to his workman injured at work.
Held: Bowen LJ said: ‘It is no doubt true that the knowledge on the part of the injured person which will prevent him from alleging negligence against the occupier, must . .

Cited by:
CitedLissenden v CAV Bosch Ltd HL 1940
The defendant attempted to bar the workman plaintiff from appealing a compensation award on the ground that he had already accepted payment under it.
Held: The House considered the principle that a party may not blow hot and cold on an issue . .
CitedMcLaughlin and Others v Newall QBD 31-Jul-2009
The claimant asked the court to strike out the defence that the claimant had compromised his claim by agreement. The defendant had written letters critical of the claimants who were governors of a school which had disciplined his daughter a teacher . .
CitedHomer Burgess Ltd v Chirex (Annan) Ltd OHCS 25-Jan-2000
Although an adjudicator’s decision would normally be binding on the parties pending an appeal, that was not the case where the mistake alleged was as to his jurisdiction. In such cases the decision was reviewable, and was ineffective as a decision . .
CitedImperial Chemical Industries Ltd v Shatwell HL 6-Jul-1964
The respondent was employed as a shot firer in a quarry, and was to test the electric wiring connecting explosive charges. Contrary to instructions that testing must be done from a shelter, the respondent and another shot firer carried out a test in . .
CitedSian Williams v Revenue and Customs FTTTx 8-Feb-2010
FTTTx INCOME TAX – EMPLOYMENT INCOME – EXPENSES – television newsreader – expenses for purchase and laundering of professional clothing for studio and for professional hairdo and colouring – whether incurred . .
CitedJoseph Smith (Pauper) v Charles Baker and Sons HL 21-Jul-1891
. .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Employment, Negligence

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.235909