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Tort Cases: Rylands v Fletcher [1868] LR 3 HL 330

Liability under Rylands v Fletcher is is a leading decision by the House of Lords regarded as a particular type of negligence. It is a form of strict liability. The rule holds a defendant strictly liable for damages caused by one's non-natural use of their land, use of a dangerous thing, and the element of escape provided substantial loopholes to the enterprises to escape liability that leads to another's land being damaged as a result of dangerous things emanating from the land. Non-natural use of land may include a special use of the land that increases the risk of harm to neighbours. According to this rule, a person can be held liable even there is no negligence on his part.


A plaintiff suing under a theory of strict liability will need to show that there was a defect, that the defect actually and proximately caused the plaintiff's injury, and that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous.



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