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Applying the principle in sedleigh, PC held that the occupier of land owed a duty to his neighbour toremove any hazards, whether natural or man-made. The duty was based on the occupier’s knowledge ofthe hazard and foresight of damage to his neighbour if he failed to act. The standard of care required ofthe occupier was what it was reasonable to expect of him in his circumstances, and since the duty to actwas imposed on the occupier, the individual resources of the occupier were to be considered inassessing whether his response was reasonable. The PC felt that liability, if any, arose in negligence.Leakey v National Trust QB 485 (‘Barrow Mump’ case on 662) Again reiterates that the test of deciding whether what the defendant didwas sufficient or reasonable is somewhat subjective in that the resources available to D can be taken intoaccount.NB. The result of these cases is that where the alleged nuisance is caused by a natural occurrence anaction may be commenced in either nuisance or negligence, but that liability will be determinedaccording to principles applicable to the law of negligence.The only exception is where the damage C alleges is not sufficient to found an action in negligence butwould be in nuisance.
(4) The rule in Rylands v Fletcher (1866) LR 1 Exch 265The rule imposes strict liability for the escape of ‘dangerous things’ on land. For liability, four requirements need to be satisfied.1.The object in question must be a ‘dangerous thing’. I.e. something likely to cause damage if it escapes.2.The ‘dangerous thing’ must’ve been accumulated on the defendant’s land. (Rylands). This is sometimes phrased as being a ‘non-natural’ use of the land (Read, Transco)3.dangerous thing must escape from D’s land 4.dangerous thing must cause damage to the claimantNote:No liability for escapes caused by acts of God or malicious third parties; no liability for death or personal injuryRylands v Fletcher (HL)Facts:D engaged independent contractors to construct a reservoir to supply water to his mill. This was built over abandoned mine shafts which collapsed due to the weight of the water, causing water to floodinto C’s colliery. D had not be negligent and there was no basis for a claim in private nuisance as D had taken reasonable care to select a competent and experienced independent contractor.Judgment:D was held liable on the basis that ‘the person who for his own purposes brings on his land and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes, must keep it at his peril, and, if he does not do so, is prima facie answerable for all the damage which is the natural consequences of its escape’. Lord Cairns described the required use of land as ‘non-natural use’.