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Nominate Torts Animals Liability Notes

BCL Law Notes > Tort Law: Nominate Torts Notes

This is an extract of our Nominate Torts Animals Liability document, which we sell as part of our Tort Law: Nominate Torts Notes collection written by the top tier of University College Dublin students.

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LIABILITY FOR ANIMALS

• Neat

• Strict liability for damage caused by animals which falls into 3 categories:
a) General common law principle - negligence, nuiance, tresspass b) Special common law c) Statutory liability

• Trespass, nuisance, scienter, negligence > they are all actions depending on the case.
GENERAL COMMON LAW
A) NEGLIGENCE

Howard v Bergin & O'Connor
D failed to use platform provided to load a bullock. Failed to lock gate to public road. Failed to attend to cattle. Result = P's injury arising from D's negligence
B) PUBLIC NUISANCE

Cunningham v Whelan
P's horse and cart damaged by D's bullocks on highway. 24 bullocks involved amounted to obstruction = nuisance and recovery allowed.
- Amount unreasonable

C) PRIVATE NUISANCE

O'Gorman v O'Gorman
D's bees swarmed on plaintiff's land. P thrown from his horse.
- Maintenance and number of bees render the circumstance unreasonable
D) CATTLE TRESSPASS

• If you drive cattle into another person's land, this is trespass to land and general principles apply. • Cattle that stray fall under a cattle trespass rule
Cattle trespass rule

• Confined to cattle but broad interpretation

• Strict liability if they stray on own will

• Defences differ
E) OCCUPIER'S LIABILITY
- The Occupier's liability act reformed common law rules relating to injuries on an occupier's land
- Q as to whether the act replaced common law for injuries caused by animals on occupier's land, or do separate rules apply?
McMahon v Binchy says:
* Separate liability for animals
F) RYLAND'S V FLETCHER

• If you can establish that the keeping on the animals was unnatural use of the land, may be actionable under this rule

SPECIAL COMMON LAW
A) Cattle trespass

• Identifiable breeds of cattle from case law:
Horses, sheep, goats, pigs, asses, domesticated deer, fowl

• Not dogs, cats and domestic

• Cattle trespass applies to cattle that stray from:
- One field adjoining another
- One field adjoining the highway to another field

Kennedy v McCabe
- Doesn't apply to cattle driven onto the road - you must prove negligence
PROPER DEFENDANT

• Cattle owner or land owner from which cattle have strayed? Dalton v Sullivan
Landowner leased grazing land to cattle owner and agreed to herd the cattle for him. The owner of the cattle lived 100 miles away
- Ownership not sufficient alone

Winter v Owens
- D owner, personally fed and tended to the animals liable
DAMAGE to:

Cronin v Connor
- Land and crops

McCabe v Delaney
- Injury to animals

Wormald v Cole
- Personal injury

DEFENCESAct of god
Plaintiff's fault
Contributory negligence 3rd party fault

ANIMALS AND THE HIGHWAY

• Rural setting

Searle v Wallbank
- Immunity for animals on highway

• Abolished by Animals Act 1985

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