Study Notes

Key Case | Cambridge Water Co v Eastern Counties Leather (1994) | Rylands v Fletcher - Thing likely to Mischief if it Escapes - Foreseeability

A Level, BTEC Level 3
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

A defendant will not be liable if they do not foresee, nor could have foreseen that the thing could escape and cause damage. Foreseeability: the harm that results must be ‘reasonable foreseeability of damage of the relevant type.’


Claimant: Water Company

Defendant: ECL – leather manufacturer

Facts: A chemical (PCE) was used on the defendant’s land as part of a tanning process that they undertook. Trace elements of the chemical sept into the ground underneath the ECL factory through the concrete floor and contaminated the water of the Cambridge Water Co.

Outcome: Not Liable

Legal principle: The defendants were not liable as the tort of Rylands v Fletcher requires, that knowledge, or at least reasonable foreseeability of the risk of possible damage if there were to be an escape.

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