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Remoteness of Damage
In Re Polemis Facts
1. A ship, chartered to one of the parties, had a volume of benzine in the hold which leaked and produced a flammable gas.
2. The charterer's workers negligently dropped a plank into the hold.
3. The gas caught fire and destroyed the ship. IssueRemoteness of Damage - Direct damage
1. Bankes LJ (concurring)
The difference between proximate and remote consequence is a false dichotomy, the only real distinction that can be drawn is between direct and indirect consequence.
The same applies to a distinction between the type of damage that could be reasonably anticipated and the extent of damage that can be anticipated.
The only thing that is relevant when a breach of duty is proved, is what damage was the direct result of that breach.
Thus the charterers are liable for all the damage.
2. Warrington LJ (concurring)
The presence or absence of reasonable anticipation of damage determines the quality of the act as being either negligent or innocent.
Damages recoverable are based on whether or not they are the direct consequence of the act.
Therefore the charterers are liable for all the damage flowing from their negligence.
3. Scrutton LJ (concurring)
Once an act is negligent, the question of its exact consequence being foreseeable is irrelevant.
Therefore the charterers are liable for all the damage.
The Wagon Mound Facts
1. The appellants were operating a ship that was discharging a volume of oil negligently into Sydney Bay.
2. The oil collected around the respondent's wharf and ignited.
3. The respondent's sued. IssueRemoteness of Damage - Foreseeability
1. Viscount Simmonds
Problems with Re Polemis: a) It rested on very little authority. b) It attatched liability to unforeseeable damage in the same way as to foreseeable damage. c) It was unsuited to the subtleties of a case such as this.
Polemis was not good law - there should be only one rule for culpability and for compensation.
The problem of causation is a more complex problem than is that of reasonable foreseeability.
Therefore the test of of what damage one should be liable for is that of reasonable foreseeability.
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