(2003) JELR 80160 (HL)    
House of Lords  ·  19 Nov 2003 ·  United Kingdom
Other Citations
[2003] UKHL 61, [2003] NPC 143, [2003] 3 WLR 1467, [2004] 1 P & CR DG12, [2004] 1 All ER 589, [2004] 2 AC 1, [2004] Env LR 24, [2003] 48 EGCS 127, 91 Con LR 28
Lord Bingham of Cornhill Lord Hoffmann Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough Lord Scott of Foscote Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe
Core Terms Beta
blackburn j
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court of exchequer chamber
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law of tort
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natural beauty
natural user condition
new principle of law
onward distribution of the water
part of the council
principles of ordinary negligence
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rainham chemical works ltd v
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respondent council
risk of escape of water
rule of law
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BINGHAM OF CORNHILL(reading the leading judgment)

My Lords,In this appeal the House is called upon to review the scope and application, in modern conditions, of the rule of law laid down by the Court of Exchequer Chamber, affirmed by the House of Lords, in Rylands v. Fletcher (1866) LR 1 Exch 265; (1868) LR 3 HL 330.

I need not repeat the summary given by my noble and learned friend Lord Hoffmann of the facts giving rise to the dispute between the parties to this appeal. The salient facts appear to me to be these. As a multi-storey block of flats built by a local authority and let to local residents, Hollow End Towers was typical of very many such blocks throughout the country. It had been built by the respondent council. The block was supplied with water for the domestic use of those living there, as statute has long required. Water was carried to the block by the statutory undertaker, from whose main the pipe central to these proceedings led to tanks in the basement of the block for o…

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