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Tort Law Directions

Tort Law Directions (8th edn)

Carol Brennan
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date: 29 May 2024

p. 32013. Rylands v Fletcherlocked

p. 32013. Rylands v Fletcherlocked

  • Carol BrennanCarol BrennanTeaching Fellow on the Undergraduate Laws Programme, University of London


Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams, and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. Rylands v Fletcher was an 1868 case that gave birth to a rule imposing strict liability for damage caused by the escape of dangerous things from land. The tort in Rylands v Fletcher differs from nuisance because it does not consider the involvement of the defendant in a continuous activity or an ongoing state of affairs. What distinguishes Rylands v Fletcher from actions in negligence is that there is no need for the existence of a duty of care and its breach, along with the questionable place of personal injury as an actionable type of damage. This chapter examines the tort in Rylands v Fletcher and the nature of the rule that arose from it. It also considers recent case law developments concerning Rylands v Fletcher and their impact on the current state of the law. Finally, the chapter evaluates the defences pertaining to Rylands v Fletcher.

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