CASE BOOK for 2nd year.docx

The tort principle which this case applies in is the

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The tort principle which this case applies in is the breach of duty as it was by reason of carelessness of the Wagon Mound engineers that a large quantity of oil overflowed from the wagon mound. The Holding The defendants were in breach of duty. Although the likelihood of harm was low, the seriousness of harm was high and it would have cost nothing to prevent it. Lord Reid: In the present case the evidence shows that the discharge of so much oil on to the water must have taken a considerable time, and a vigilant ship's engineer would have noticed the discharge at an early stage. The findings show that he ought to have known that it is possible to ignite this kind of oil on water. And that the ship's engineer probably ought to have known that this had in fact happened before. The most that can be said to justify inaction is that he would have known that this could only happen in very exceptional circumstances. But that does not mean that a reasonable man would dismiss such a risk from his mind and do nothing when it was so easy to prevent it. If it is clear that the reasonable man would have realised or foreseen and prevented the risk then it must follow that the appellants are liable in damages. The learned Judge found this a difficult case: he says that this matter is "one upon which different minds would come to different conclusions". Taking a rather different view of the law from that of the learned Judge, their Lordships must hold that the respondents are entitled to succeed on this issue The Rationale The court held the defendants liable because they believed, according to the facts, that the oil spill was foreseeable and indeed very easy to prevent and that the engineers of the wagon mound breached their duty. Lord Reid in his judgement says, “…The findings show that he ought to have known that it is possible to ignite this kind of oil on water and that the ship's engineer probably ought to have known that this had in fact happened before…” Dissenting Opinions There were no dissenting opinions on this matter. Status of Authority I think that this case is an authority in the matter because it highlights how when one does not do what they ought to the danger it may cause to others. So I agree with the ruling and it may be used as an authority. Case Title Van Colle v Chief Constable of the Hertfordshire Police [2008] 3 ALL ER
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977 The Bench Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Hope of Craig head, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, Lord Cars well and Lord Brown of Eaton-Under Heywood. The Facts Giles van Colle was due to give evidence against Brougham on a charge of theft. Brougham threatened Van Colle saying ‘If you don’t drop the charge you will be in danger.’ The police were informed of the threats but ultimately Brougham shot Van Colle dead. The police were held not liable as it was said that they could not reasonably have apprehended violence against Van Colle in view of the minor nature of the charge.
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  • Summer '17
  • Prof. Oduor
  • Law, The Land, Court of Appeal, House of Lords, Lords, Case Title

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