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With a more adequate definition of 'non-natural' use, judges could realise the potential of the rule in Rylands v Flecther [1868] 3 LR 330 (HL).Discuss

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After a successful pumping of the water and an articulate inspection of the possible causes of the flooding in the mine, Fletcher identified the sunken shafts of coal. Thomas Fletcher filed a claim against Rylands and the manager of his reservoir, Jehu Horrocks, on November 4 1861. Though Fletcher brought the complaint as negligence, the proceedings and judgment of the case remain of great significance on the English law, and in different other legal systems across the world. The interpretation of the case filed by Fletcher holding Rylands directly responsible for the flooding shaped the entirety of English Tort law.

The interpretation of the law was based entirety on the issues of the use of the land. Though Fletcher brought the claim as an issue of negligence, the turn of events led to an even greater influence on English law. The Court of Exchequer Chamber together with the House of Lords developed the case to incorporate the issue of use of land and property. According to their ruling, a person who revealed non-natural use of his/her land, by collecting and keeping in it anything that would directly and negatively impact on others, causing mischief, was directly liable for the development of the mischief.

Such an individual was answerable under the English law to any damage caused, by events, ipso facto natural and uncontrollable. The development of Rylands v Fletcher [1868] 3 LR 330 (HL) led to a diverse influence on English law1.A critical analysis of the Rylands v Fletcher [1868] 3 LR 330 (HL) reveals its great influence on tort law and the English law in general. Several centuries after the judgment, the case remains a landmark in the English law, and the issue of land ownership and use.

However, of greater influence is the definition of the issue of non-natural use of land. Though different cases have based arguments on the case, all reveal different definitions of the issue of non-natural use of land and property2. While representing the House of Lords, Lord Cairns argued that liability for the use of land leading to mischief to others within the society was only possible if it was pointed out as non-natural. The Lord used the term to mean any inappropriateness or unusual use of land that would threaten the existence of others within the neighbourhood or the society by causing a foreseeable damage.

However, the case was different if the general use of the land was of collective and direct benefit to

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preview essay on With a more adequate definition of 'non-natural' use, judges could realise the potential of the rule in Rylands v Flecther [1868] 3 LR 330 (HL).Discuss
  • Pages: 9 (2250 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Law
  • Level: Undergraduate
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