A particular wrong is actionable perse (without proof of fault on the part of the tortfeasor and in addition there is no defenses available to the defendant, Strict liability A particular wrong is actionable without proof of fault but some defenses may be available to the defendant. Strict liability may be considered in the following cases: 1. The rule of Rylands vs. Fletcher 2. Liability for fire 3. Liability for animals The rule of Rylands Vs Fletcher A person who for his own purpose brings on his land, collects and keeps there anything likely to cause mischief, if it escapes, must keep in his own peril and if it escapes he is prima-facie liable/answerable for damages caused by another person. The defendant in the Rylands vs. Fletcher case constructed a reservoir in their land for purpose of supplying water for a mill. The site choosen had a disused and filled up a sharp of cold joinery mine whose passages communicated with the adjoining mine of the plaintiff. But this fact was not known to the defendant who took no precaution for it. When the dam (reservoir) filled, the waters escaped causing a lot of damages. Held: The defendant was liable and it was immaterial that there was no fault on his part. Limitations of this rule 1 . There must be non-natural use of land There must be accumulation of things not naturally found in the defendants land/compound. In the above case the water was not naturally there but the defendant had collected it and brought it there.
Crowhurst vs. Amasham Burial Board (1818) The defendant had on his land a tree with poisonous leaves. The branches to the tree projected in to the plaintiffs land. The plaintiffs horse the poisonous leaves and died. Held: The defendant was liable under the rule of Rylands Vs Fletcher. 2. Need for escape There must be actual escape on the defendants land accompanied by a non-natural use of land, if there is escape but within the defendants land the rule don't apply. 3. Natural use of land Ross vs. fedden The supply and overflow pipes burst flooding the plaintiffs house. Held: The pipes, being for the convenience and use of the delendant, was a natural use of land and therefore the defendant was not liable under the rule. For Rylands vs. Fletcher rule to apply there must be non-natural use of land, 4. No Escape The absence of escape is a defense available hence escape must be present. Defenses in this rule a) Plaintiffs fault - Where escape resulted from the plaintiff's fault this is a defense fro the defendant. b) Vis –major (act of God) c) Act of stranger - If the escape was caused by a person over whom the defendant has control and whose intention is foreseeable, this does not act as a defense. d) Volenti-nou Fit Injuria
e) Statutory authority. Liability of fire Liability of fire due to negligent is actionable under the tort. If the fire starts without negligence but spread due to negligence, then the person is liable for the damages caused.