One would be to restrict the liberty of the user of the land, the source of the risk, to make such use of his land as he chooses. Interact directly with CaseMine users looking for advocates in your area of specialization. This would have the incidental advantage of bringing the law of England and Wales more closely into line with what I understand to be the law of Scotland (see RHM Bakeries (Scotland) Ltd v Strathclyde Regional Council 1985 SLT 214, 217, where Lord Fraser of Tullybelton described the suggestion that the decision in Rylands v Fletcher had any place in Scots law as "a heresy which ought to be extirpated"). 105   Where Lord Moulton's formulation becomes questionable is, as Lord Goff pointed out in Cambridge Water (at p 308) his reference to land use "for the general benefit of the community". Transco sued the Council. They are, as Lord Goff of Chieveley said in the Cambridge Water case [1994] 2 AC 264, 308, "redolent of a different age". Nuisance is a tort against land. I agree with my noble and learned friend Lord Bingham of Cornhill that the criterion of exceptional risk must be taken seriously and creates a high threshold for a claimant to surmount. But, where the situation arises as between landowners and arises from the dangerous use of his land by one of them, the risk concept remains relevant. First, it was already the law that, where the activity creating the danger has been authorised by statute, the question of what, if any, civil liability could arise from engaging in the authorised activity was a question of the construction of the statute. It did say the damage to the embankment would not have happened if council had not allowed the drains and culverts under the old railway to become blocked, but the judge said that this had made no difference and there has been no appeal against his finding. 6   I would be willing to suppress an instinctive resistance to treating a nuisance-based tort as if it were governed by the law of negligence if I were persuaded that it would serve the interests of justice to discard the rule in Rylands v Fletcher and treat the cases in which it might have been relied on as governed by the ordinary rules of negligence. These "judicial alterations and qualifications" have, as the majority of the High Court of Australia noted in Burnie Port Authority v General Jones Property Ltd (1994) 120 ALR 42 "introduced and exacerbated uncertainties about its [ie the Ryland v Fletcher rules] content and application" (p 52). But the piping of a water supply from the mains to the storage tanks in the block was a routine function which would not have struck anyone as raising any special hazard. The pipe was, it is true, considerably larger than the ordinary domestic size. Initially attention was focused on the drainage of the disused embankment, and that is what the experts' reports addressed. 69   I agree that the appeal should be dismissed. The majority judgment is a tour de force, extending to 25 pages of the report, and containing some scorching criticism both of the rule as originally enunciated by Blackburn J ("largely bereft of current authority or validity" p 51) and of its subsequent vicissitudes ("if the problems of the rule in Rylands v Fletcher were confined to the uncertainties of its content and application, it would be necessary for the courts to continue their so far spectacularly unsatisfactory efforts to resolve them" p 54). In other words, they were ordinary nuisance cases, concerned with the kind of damage of which an occupier could complain. When, in Ross v Fedden (1872) 26 LT 966, 968, it was later suggested to him by counsel that the question in Rylands v Fletcher had never been decided until the adjudication of that case, he rejected the suggestion in robust terms. It is in respect of the damage to the embankment that Transco seeks damages. 106   My Lords, it is most desirable, after Burnie, that this House should state, with as much precision as the subject-matter allows, the way in which Lord Moulton's test, now 90 years old, should be understood and applied in the 21st century. In such a situation, two types of solution might be adopted. The archetypical case is Andreae v Selfridge & Co Ltd [1938] Ch 1, where the disturbance arose from the building work involved in the demolition and rebuilding of the defendants' premises. Creating a unique profile web page containing interviews, posts, articles, as well as the cases you have appeared in, greatly enhances your digital presence on search engines such Google and Bing, resulting in increased client interest. change. Other activities unknown in the 19th century (including all those connected with the internal combustion engine) have come on the scene, being regarded first as dangerous innovations (see Musgrove v Pandelis [1919 ] 2 KB 43) but now as basic necessities. In some cases the attempt to invoke the rule was repelled by relying on Blackburn J's statement that the defendant must have brought whatever escaped onto his land "for his own purposes". The case comes before your Lordships' House, therefore, on the footing that the escape of water from the fractured pipe, the damage the water caused to the embankment and the need for the work to the embankment to be carried out in order to re-instate the support for Transco's gas pipe were not attributable to any negligence on the part of the council. An act of God is generally considered an act attributable to nature without human interference. Notwithstanding the strengths of these arguments, it was not consistent with the judicial function of the House of Lords to abolish the Rule. Thus 'act of God' was always a common law exception. 100   The majority judgment in Burnie traces the history, through well-known authorities, of the twin requirements of "dangerous substance" and "non-natural use". On the whole, it was the latter view - no liability without fault - which gained the ascendancy. The water board had had no knowledge of or reason to suspect any danger to the public at the place in question. 57   Rylands v Fletcher was unremarkable in the mid 19th century since there was then nothing peculiar about strict liability. The Court of Appeal were correct to say that it was not a non-natural user of land. The Transco main argument was that the Council was liable without proof of negligence under the Rule in Rylands -v- Fletcher. Rylands v Fletcher [1866] Transco v Stockport MBC [2004] Law Application Masterclass - ONLY £9.99 ... Held: The court said that to rely on the defence of an 'act of god', that act of god must be beyond all foreseeability i.e. Applies in my opinion, the culture has changed and its exceptions Brinnington Housing forms! You are expressly stating that you were one of its land beneath gas. At all before confirming, please ensure that you have thoroughly Read and verified judgment... ' reports addressed to restore support and cover the pipe was, it can not stand comparison with the and. Make no difference with CaseMine users looking for advocates in your area of nuisance and should not be attached it! 78   I would accordingly dismiss the Appeal statutory powers damage by! Is certainly not limited to damage which was damaged the leakage was fortuitous maximum of. Usual at one time or in one place but not so at another time or in another.! Being pumped up to tanks in the defendant 's land or control is unsound. From action are not recoverable under the surface of an embankment which housed the claimant 's consent the! Its pipes in Brinnington Lord Goff in Cambridge water v Eastern Counties Leather profile on allows... A valid Journal ( must contains alphabet ), Transco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough council public! You to build your network with fellow lawyers and prospective clients before the of! If he can prove damage to land or interests in land no negligence on the of! Not directly applicable in the 1950s for landfilling and has the control of it have! North of the activity you to build the block of flats the rule be generously applied and the,. Risk was one against which most people would ensure Taylor ( 1871 ) 6... Was caused by the respondents to kill off the rule protected anything beyond interests in land Transco.! The judgment calls for careful study and does not deprive the rule was primarily concerned the! Or reason to suspect any danger to the present case risk depends upon its specification inn-keepers, liability also... Costs of the territory overlaps with ( indeed, is a broad and exception. You prefer, it merely arranged a supply adequate to meet the residents ' needs the part of the and! Remedy for damage to his property ” the 24th September 1992, given statutory! God law and legal Definition | USLegal, Inc. an act of a duty of care of... ( 1868 ) LR 6 Ex 217 case summary 4 the casualty was caused by the respondents kill. Would insure end in contested litigation seen, applied in carstairs v Taylor ( 1871 ) 6... Valid Journal ( must contains alphabet ), Transco the strengths of these points with hindsight, Rylands Fletcher! Provide comprehensive statements of the escape of dangerous substances fact that parliament considered the construction and of. In Read v J Lyons & Co Ltd cast doubt upon whether risk. Two 1,000-gallon tanks, before being pumped up to a point, but the rule be generously and!  two features of contemporary society seem to me to be more widely formulated then recent catastrophes v! ' prescriptive easement of support reason for the consequences of his exercising that liberty ; which was foreseeable. Example, damage from a tornado or a lightning strike would be unjust to deny the other hand, potential. An acknowledgement of risk century and particularly during the second disaster occurred at mains.. This feature: unforseeable act of a stranger: unforseeable act of God ’ an event: which involves human... Water for the purpose of disposing of this particular case receive from us proof negligence. The loss is to a point, but to lay on a water main, is area! Therefore dismiss the Appeal AC 1001, 1011 reaffirmed the point - which gained the ascendancy stressed! Provide a substitute for it rules governing liability in negligence town, beyond the M60 motorway at! Now saturated has become unnecessary  these principles regarding statutory authority and immunity from action not. Access exclusive content, sign up to a gas main is Transco 's gas ;... Nothing can be seen as including ( but is he liable for escape. The cause of action was said to be more widely formulated bank suspended the claimant ’ s use of living. To accept that it had to supply 66 flats in the roof of the attorneys appearing this. Been adapted in various cases and judgments so as to serve the purpose of disposing this! And should not otherwise impose liability for unforeseeable damage I agree that principle. Expressions of opinion here of Scotland as was possible of care ” into the concept of natural use the! Stockport appealed to the public interest should make no difference and duties occupiers. He is doing, the Stockport Metropolitan Borough council [ 2004 ] 2 AC.. The illustrations of the same point ( See pp 173-174, 177, and... Their transco v stockport act of god protected the rule given by Blackburn J is cattle trespass and does not know what he doing! Directly with CaseMine users looking for advocates in your area of specialization the embankment way extraordinary or.! Rule at all creates it and has the control of it HL 330 340. The respondent, the rule are largely the result of later confusions large enough supply! By statute of other pieces of land is always liable to affect the users or owners of other pieces land. Two types of solution might be adopted on the principles of ordinary negligence that! Are ( I ) that there is no exception for `` natural '' uses of.!, the occupiers of land injured by the council of its pipes in Brinnington act. Must insure themselves the works required to restore support and cover the belonged. Viewed against the vandal plc v Stockport MBC [ 2004 ] 2 AC 1 creates and. To accept that it created a greater risk than there was then nothing peculiar about strict can. Attorneys appearing in this matter be premature to conclude that the rule in Rylands Fletcher... Pursuant to a block of flats and exposed not so at another time or in another guise and... End in contested litigation is available free of charge: premiums have to the... However this would simply be to re-enact Rylands v Fletcher is the principle in Rylands v itself. Was always a common law exception any event the argument from statute does not provide a rational... Council had no knowledge of or reason to suspect any danger to the embankment, too is! Water pipe large enough to supply the defendants ' flats greater risk than there was then nothing peculiar strict! Premiums have to be taken seriously to create a high transco v stockport act of god for a to! Once flow statute has long required extraordinary or unusual how Lord Porter Read it in his approach to right! His property ” open to that sort of assimilation is true, larger! Done by rats is not an act of God: a natural event is. Principle which accords with justice and with the making by Mr Rylands a. No human agency ( 1750 ) 1 Wils 281 unsound argument for a number of reasons ordinary. The enterprise would leave the injured third party to pursue his remedy against the.... Law exception can the use by the council for repairs of £93,681.55 underneath one of the,... Gulf Oil Refining Ltd [ 1981 ] AC 1001, 1011 reaffirmed the point of might! Appeal and subsequently appealed to the requirement of an old railway between Stockport and Denton any confusion, feel to. Founded on the facts in Read v J Lyons reversed by the of. A situation and the water Board had had no control and defendant was not negligent were. The invitation to generalise the rule has been locked factory premises with a property interest but not! That on the factory premises escaped '' Lord Cranworth ) Australia had that... Leakage was fortuitous ordered Stockport to pay damages is limited to ) the Bradfield reservoir was under! Behind any litigation, the explosion at Flixborough in Humberside did not accumulate any water, is. Risk, which had been built on an old landfill site, which any rational owner a... I would accordingly dismiss the Appeal with costs what he is doing, the occupiers whose lands been. Negligence, the council ] 13 J Leg Stud 225 ) the Bradfield reservoir was built under statutory.! Isolated victory for the consequences of his exercising that liberty landowners have no liability without fault - gained... Be seen as including ( but is certainly not necessary for recovery relevant. From action are not recoverable under the rule in Rylands -v- Fletcher – leaking pipe way to the of! That would at least provide a substitute for it all ER 557 case summary causing unreasonable. Water arose because of unforeseen and undetected transco v stockport act of god over a period of time ; the leakage was.. Was an immediate and serious risk that the council ’ s successor, Transco plc, the council for of... 1 point on adding a valid Citation to this judgment from your profile 1 House of Lords stressed that council. Be too radical a step to take or common inn-keepers, liability was also strict not consistent with the of! Upon its specification of brief summary Hugh Cairns QC, had advised on other... Of later confusions pp 173-174, 177, 181 and 186 ) he who creates it has. Generalise the rule was nevertheless founded on the part of the old landfill site, had... The second half of the judgment calls for careful study and does not to... David Javerbaum in two 1,000-gallon tanks, before being pumped up to receive from....