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Street on Torts

Street on Torts (16th edn)

Christian Witting
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date: 26 May 2024

p. 46418. The rule in Rylands v Fletcherlocked

p. 46418. The rule in Rylands v Fletcherlocked

  • Christian WittingChristian WittingProfessor of Law, National University of Singapore, Barrister and Solicitor, High Court of Australia and Supreme Court of Victoria


This chapter examines the rule in Rylands v Fletcher, which is probably the best-known example of a strict liability tort in English law. It explains that the rule in this case highlighted various elements of the tort, such as non-natural use and escape, which must be present before liability can be imposed. It discusses criticisms of the rule, particularly about whether it really amounts to an instance of strict liability in tort, and considers the recent judicial view that it is merely a sub-branch of the law of private nuisance. Comparison of the two torts would suggest that the Rylands tort is separate and distinct from private nuisance.

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