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Tort LawText, Cases, and Materials

Tort Law: Text, Cases, and Materials (4th edn)

Jenny Steele
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date: 20 May 2022

p. 67611. Rylands v Fletcher and Strict Liabilitylocked

p. 67611. Rylands v Fletcher and Strict Liabilitylocked

  • Jenny SteeleJenny SteeleProfessor & Director of Research, York Law School, University of York


All books in this flagship series contain carefully selected substantial extracts from key cases, legislation, and academic debate, providing able students with a stand-alone resource. This chapter analyses the rule in Rylands v Fletcher on liability for damage done by the escape of dangerous things accumulated on one’s land, regardless of fault. It considers the problem in overlap between negligence and strict liability, and how the tort of negligence can impose liability in situations far removed from cases of individual fault, including the situations covered by Rylands v Fletcher. After providing an overview of the case of Rylands v Fletcher and the origins and elements of the rule, the chapter looks at the rule and its categorization and boundaries today, paying particular attention to two major English cases that treat Rylands as an aspect of nuisance: Cambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather plc and Transco v Stockport MBC. Finally, it examines the Australian High Court’s decision in Burnie Port Authority v General Jones Pty Ltd.

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