Cambridge Water Co v Eastern Counties Leather plc [1994] 2 AC 264

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Cambridge Water Co v Eastern Counties Leather plc [1994] 2 AC 264 is a Tort Law case focusing on nuisance and the Rylands v Fletcher rule.

Facts:

The defendant was the owner of a leather tanning business. It spilt small quantities of solvents to the nearby area where the claimant’s water company operated and supplied local residents with water. Consequently, the water got contaminated and the claimant brought actions based on negligence, nuisance and the rule in Rylands v Fletcher

Issues:

The issue in Cambridge Water Co v Eastern Counties Leather plc [1994] 2 AC 264 was whether the rules for the remoteness of damage and foreseeability of the type of damage caused is implemented to cases where the rule of Rylands v Fletcher and nuisance are in the same way, they do for negligence cases. 

Held:

It was held that the harm of the relevant type by the defendant must be foreseeable to recover damages. This rule applies both in nuisance and under the rule in Rylands as well. Accordingly, and not withstanding that the storage of the solvent constituted a non-natural use of D’s land.

Since P could not establish that the pollution which occurred was in the circumstances foreseeable, the action failed. Therefore, the Defendants were not liable for the damage in Cambridge Water Co v Eastern Counties Leather plc.

Applied:

Rylands v Fletcher 

References:

(1868) LR 3 HL 330, [1868] UKHL 1

Read our notes and other cases on Nuisance for more information. 

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