Ryland and Fletcher (1868)


A person who, for his own purposes, brought on his land and collected and kept there anything likely to do mischief if it escaped, had to keep it in at his peril; and if he did not do so, he was prima facie answerable for all the damage which was the natural consequence of its escape. This case is the basis for the term "rule in Rylands v Fletcher".

The appellants (R) appealed against a decision that they were liable in damages to the respondent (F) for an escape of water from their reservoir into F's coal mines.

R, to serve his mill, had built a reservoir on land adjacent to F's mines. Underneath the reservoir there were disused mine shafts with which F's mine shafts came into contact. When the reservoir was filled or partly filled with water, its weight broke through the disused shafts and the water penetrated F's mine and caused damage for which F claimed against R. The Court of Exchequer decided that there was no cause of action. The Court…


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