Strict Liability Essay

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Strict liability refers to the imposition liability on the defendant even in the absence of any negligent conduct on their part. It is Liability arising from causing damage to life or property by a hazardous activity or a defective product, without the need to show that the defendant was negligent or directly at fault. It does not, however, arise from every wrong, but from the fact that the activity or product is inherently hazardous or defective. In establishing strict liability, Lord Cranworth in the case of Rylands v Fletcher stated that “If a person brings, or accumulates, on his land anything which, if it should escape, may cause damage to his neighbour, he does so at his peril. If it does escape, and cause damage, he is responsible, however careful he may have been, and whatever precautions he may have taken to prevent the damage” Requirements 1. Accumulation The defendant must bring the hazardous material on to his land and keep it there. If the thing is already on the land or is there naturally, no liability will arise under Rylands v Fletcher: Ellison v Ministry of Defence (1997) 81 BLR 101 Case summary The defendant constructed bulk fuel installations at Greenham Common airfield. This caused rain water which had accumulated on the airfield to run off and flood neighbouring land. The court held that the construction work was an ordinary use of the land and necessary for the se of the land as an airfield and therefore there was no non-natural use. Also the rain water accumulated naturally and was not artificially kept there. Consequently the defendant was not liable under Rylands v Fletcher. The thing must be accumulated for the defendant's own purposes: Dunne v North West Gas Board. Gas escaped from a gas main caused by a burst water main. The gas travelled along a sewer and was ignited causing a series of explosions resulting in

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