File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Remoteness Of Damage

Remoteness of Damage

Doctrine of remoteness of damage: According to this doctrine damages are said to be too remote, where the causal connection between it and the defendant's act is regarded by the law as not sufficiently direct to create responsibility, It is also known as the doctrine of Natural and Probable Consequence.

It is closely related to the Law of Negligence and has undergone a change in course of time as a result of judicial pronouncements. This doctrine is also expressed by the maxim. "In jure non-remota causa sed proxima spectator" (in law, the immediate, not the remote, cause of any event is to be considered). Damage must be the direct and natural result of the defendant's act. A man is presumed to intend the natural but not the remote consequences of his act.

Dam- age is said to be too remote when, although arising out of the cause of action, it does not so immediately and necessarily flow it, or which could not have reasonably been foreseen, that the wrongdoer would be made responsible for it. A man is not liable for all the consequences of his wrongful act or default. Liability must be founded on act which is the immediate or direct cause of the harm and injury which is complained of.

Where the causal connection between the wrongful act and injury is not sufficiently direct, there is no liability. Legal doctrine states that in order for a defendant to be held liable, tort must be a "causative cause" or the closest cause of injury and not merely a "causa sine qua non".

Scott v. Shepherd

A threw a lit squib into a crowd, and it hit X. X then threw it again, and it hit Y. Y then did the same thing, and it hit B, causing B to lose one eye. A was held accountable to B because his actions were the closest to the damage, even though the actions of X and Y had intervened between them. Haynes v. Harwood
the damage, even though the actions of X and Y had intervened between them.

Haynes v. Harwood

A horse van was negligently left unattended in a crowded street by the defendant's staff. A child threw stones at the horses, which caused them to run away, and a policeman was hurt trying to stop them so that the woman and children on the road could be saved. The defendant pleaded novus actus interveniens, or remoteness of consequences, which states that the child's mischief was the proximate cause and the defendant's servants' negligence was the remote cause.

Because such mischief by the children was anticipated, it was determined that the defendant was liable even though the horses fled when a child threw stones at them "If the accident was the natural and probable consequence of the wrongdoing, it is not true" that alone prevents the court from coming to a conclusion in the plaintiff's favor when the plaintiff has suffered damage caused by a combination of the wrongful act of a defendant and some further conscious act by an intervening person."

There Are Two Competing Tests Of Remoteness Of Damage:

  1. The test of direct consequences: According to this test "if a reasonable man would have foreseen any damage to the plaintiff as likely to result from his act, then he is liable for all the direct consequences of it suffered by the plaintiff, whether a reasonable man would have foreseen then or not?
    • Smith v. London and South Western Railway Company

      The grass and hedges bordering the defendant's railway line were cut by its servants and negligently left there. A spark which was emanated from the passing railway engine, ignited the grass there. The fire was carried away by wind 200 yards away to the plaintiff's cottage which was a consequence completely destroyed. The defendant company was held liable despite the fact that they could not have reasonably foreseen the consequences.
    • Re Polemis and Furnace Withy & Co

      The defendants chartered the plaintiff's vessel to carry a cargo which included a quantity of benzene or petrol, Some of the petrol cases leaked on the voyage and there was petrol vapor in the holt, While shifting some cargo at a port the stevedores employed by the characters negligently knocked out of a temporary staging erected in the hold, so that the plank fell into the fold and in its fall by striking something caused a spark which ignited the petrol vapor and the vessel was completely destroyed. It was held that as the fall of the plank was due to direct consequence of the negligence act, even though those consequences could not reasonably have been anticipated and they were liable for the loss of the ship.
  2. Test Of Reasonable Foreseeability:

    The standard of reasonable foreseeability states that the consequences of a wrongdoing are not too remote if a reasonable man could have foreseen them. This test of distance was supported by Pollock.
    • In Rigby v. Hewitt and Greenland v. Chaplin, he held that the defendant is only liable for the consequences that a reasonable person placed in the wrongdoer's circumstances could have foreseen. However, it is important to note that merely asserting that the defendant did not anticipate the results would not constitute a sufficient defence. Instead, the Court would have to decide, based on the rules of reasonability, whether the defendant should have anticipated the outcome.
    • Overseas Tankship v. Morts Dock & Engineering Co., Ltd. (The Wagon Mound case)

      The Plaintiff, Morts Dock & Engineering Co., Ltd. (Plaintiff), operated a dock withinside the Port of Sydney, The Defendants have been the proprietors of the vessel Wagon Mound (Defendants). Wagon Mound changed into moored six hundred toes from the Plaintiff's wharf when, due the Defendant's negligence, she discharged furnace oil into the bay causing minor injury to the Plaintiff's property. However, when molten metal that fell from the wharf came into contact with cotton waste that was floating on the surface of the water, it ignited the oil. The wharf and two docked ships were severely damaged by the fire.

      Issue: Was the fire that destroyed plaintiff's dock a foreseeable result of defendant's negligence?

      Held: The damage to plaintiff's property, while a direct result of the defendant's negligence, was an unforeseen consequence and no liability is accepted.

      Discussion: The natural consequences rule means that the negligent is liable for direct, minor, foreseeable damage as well as for all unforeseeable and serious consequences. In doing so, the law goes beyond the principle that a person should be held responsible for the likely consequences of their actions.

      The former rule has led to much confusion and contradictory results in the law in some cases, a negligent person is liable for results that may be natural or probable and are therefore considered by a reasonable person to be foreseeable when in fact they are not foreseeable the defendant is liable for the fire if the fire damage is a foreseeable consequence of its negligence.

Written By:
  1. Ayush Garg
  2. Kashish Khanduja

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly