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Case Analysis Of Haynes v/s Harwood

The plaintiff (Haynes) was a police officer on duty at a busy street police station, where he was frequently visited by a large number of people, including youngsters. The defendants (Harwood) had a two-horse delivery vehicle that was left on the same street without its driver.[1] During this time, two boys had thrown a stone at one of the horses without anyone interfering.

The horses rested for a Long time until they arrived in front of the police station, where the plaintiff was in the cellar. The driver had tied a chain to one of the van's wheels, which then broke. When the police officer saw what was happening, he saw women and children in great danger, and to protect them, he took the horse offside and tried to stop both horses. The King's Bench was found in favor of the plaintiff. The defendants appealed to the court.

Thomas John Haynes (Plaintiff) versus G. Harwood & Sons (Defendant)

Procedural History
The present case is under the jurisdiction of the King's Bench of England and Wales and was decided on October 29, 1934. The Kings Bench Division Court, preceded by Finlay J. in 1934, confirmed the case that favored the plaintiff and held accountable to the defendant for negligence. In addition, the appeal was filed in 1935 before the three-person court under the direction of Greer, Maugham, and Roche L.JJ., which confirmed the previous decision and dismissed the complaint.

Issue:
  1. Does the maxim volenti non-fit injuria prohibit police officers on duty from claiming responsibility for an injury resulting from a knowing reaction to danger?
  2. Is the horse owner obliged to leave it unattended?

Rule
In the present case, Haynes v. Harwood applied the principle of willful negligence, which is a legal theory that must be proven before we can hold any person or business liable for the harm they have suffered. In most incident or injury lawsuits such as car accidents or "slip and fall" cases where negligence must be proven. The principle of negligence is defined as the damage that the defendant caused the plaintiff in an undesirable way due to the specific breach of duty and carelessness on the part of the defendant. There are four elements of negligence that must be met to apply the principle; H. Duty, injury, causation and compensation.

In Brandon v. Osborne Garrett & Co. [1924 1 K.B. 548][2] a wife was injured for doing something to safeguard her husband from inflicting more harm by the defendant's wrongful act. The learned judge overruled the objection that she could not recover because her own act had resulted in her injury.

Volenti non-fit injuria is a common law doctrine that argues that anyone who voluntarily places himself in a position where injury could occur, knowing that injury could happen, is barred from bringing a tort claim against the other person.

Analysis / Application
In the present case, Haynes v. Harwood has accused the plaintiff (Haynes) of negligence on the part of the defendant (Harwood) as it is Harwood's duty to secure and care for the horses, in large part due to the negligence of the horse van driver who left the horses unattended. Therefore, the captain of the driver is responsible for the negligence. Another highlight is that due to the mischievous activity of the child, the horses ran stones thrown at the horse and due to the broken chain on the road, causing the horse to run on a busy road, which is usually women and children.

On the other hand, based on the common law doctrine, the defendant (Harwood) alleged volenti non fit injuria, which establishes that if someone voluntarily puts themselves in a situation that could cause harm, knowing that certain harm could occur and is structured around the policeman who willingly dares to get on the horse and knows the consequences. The accused argued against the basis of novus actus interveniensas, which referred to the interruption of the causal chain of such events, and the main objective of the accused was to stop the horse and protect the woman and children.

In Brandon v. Osborne Garrett & Co. [1924 1 K.B. 548][3], the plaintiffs, husband, and wife were in a store as customers, a skylight in the roof of the store broke due to the negligence of the contractors repairing the roof, and some of the glass fell and stuck the husband, which gave him a strong commotion. His wife, who was standing near him at the time, was not touched by the falling glass, but believing that her husband was in danger, she instinctively grabbed his arm to pull him out of place. The husband was entitled to compensation and the wife to an act of novus actus interveniensas, which was a natural and appropriate act under the circumstances.

Conclusion
In the present case, Haynes V. Harwood has adequately compiled with all the elements of negligence based on foregoing analysis and the above facts, The court also confirmed the decision in favor of the plaintiff with the same finding.

As said by GREER, L.J. :
To leave horses unattended, even for such a short time as three minutes, in a place where mischievous children may be about, where something may be done which may result in the horse running away, seems to me to be negligent-having regard to the proved circumstances.[4]

Therefore, the plaintiff can successfully claim the defendant for negligence because the defendant failed to exercise due diligence in this case.

End-Notes
  1. Lall, G., 2020. Haynes v. Harwood | Lexpeeps. [online] Lexpeeps. Available at: https://lexpeeps.in/haynes-v-harwood-1935-1-kb-146/ [Accessed 17 October 2021]
  2. Lexisnexis, https://advance-lexis-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/document/?pdmfid=1523890&crid=8fd51534-59e6-4fe3-80ea-0e2d2eda4506&pddocfullpath=%2Fshared%2Fdocument%2Fcases-uk%2Furn%3AcontentItem%3A4FP1-6110-TWW4-20VD-00000-00&pdcontentcomponentid=279841&pdshepid=urn%3AcontentItem%3A4FP1-6110-TWW4-20VD-00000-00&pdteaserkey=sr0&pdicsfeatureid=1517131&pditab=allpods&ecomp=xd_wk&earg=sr0&prid=daaa4017-7224-4bc0-9ca3-e9cf8609cfae, [ Accessed 17 october 2021]
  3. Lexisnexis, https://advance-lexis-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/document/?pdmfid=1523890&crid=8fd51534-59e6-4fe3-80ea-0e2d2eda4506&pddocfullpath=%2Fshared%2Fdocument%2Fcases-uk%2Furn%3AcontentItem%3A4FP1-6110-TWW4-20VD-00000-00&pdcontentcomponentid=279841&pdshepid=urn%3AcontentItem%3A4FP1-6110-TWW4-20VD-00000-00&pdteaserkey=sr0&pdicsfeatureid=1517131&pditab=allpods&ecomp=xd_wk&earg=sr0&prid=daaa4017-7224-4bc0-9ca3-e9cf8609cfae, [ Accessed 17 october 2021]
  4. kapoor, A., 2018. Haynes v. Harwood : My Legal Partner. [online] My Legal Partner. Available at: https://mylegalpartner.wordpress.com/tag/haynes-v-harwood/ [Accessed 17 October 2021]

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