THE RISE AND FALL OF RYLANDS V. FLETCHER

  • G HL FRIDMAN
Keywords: Negligence

Abstract

This article focuses predominantly on one judgment in Rylands v. Fletcher, which limited the expansion of liability stemming from tort doctrines. Its purpose is to expose the reasoning as undesirable. The author examines potential origins of the rule and historical justifications based on morality and economics, and then considers the clarifications and complications introduced by the later House of Lords’ decision, arriving at the central problem in the application of the principle coming out of the case: whether the courts can accept and apply the rule as stated, or whether they must acknowledge that it is harsh and unworkable. A selection of cases from the jurisprudence following the rule are analysed, in order to advance the argument that application of the principle in practice directly opposes the ideas underlying it. This result is used as evidence that the views expressed by the House of Lords were out of step with other historical developments in the tort area, and even more so with modern developments.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.
Published
1956-08-01
Section
Case Comment