escape of dangerous things

escape of dangerous things

a special head of STRICT LIABILITY that states that a person who for his own purposes brings on his land and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes must keep it at his peril, and, if he does not do so, is prima facie answerable for all the damage that is the natural consequence of its escape (although it must now be added that damage of an unforseeable type may not be recoverable). Although it can overlap with nuisance, it has been recognized as a category of liability in its own right. Cases developed the rule by requiring that the danger ought to be non-natural, something made by man. There has to be an escape from the defendant's land to harm the plaintiff. Control of the escaping thing is sufficient to establish liability. Liability is strict, although not absolute: Act of God and the act of a stranger over whom the defendant had no control are defences. Statutory authority and necessity are also defences. If it ever was the law in Scotland, it is no longer.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006