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Ribee v Norrie [2000] EWCA Civ 275

Miss Ribee, the claimant, a 70 year old woman lived in a terraced house. The neighbouring property was owned by the defendant and had been converted into a hostel. One night a fire broke out in the hostel which spread to Miss Ribee’s home. Miss Ribee was awoken by her dog and managed to escape but suffered personal injury in the form of smoke inhalation and panic attacks. She also incurred damage to her property. The fire was started by a negligently discarded cigarette by one of the occupants of the hostel.

Held:

The defendant was liable under Rylands v Fletcher.  The person who started the fire was not a stranger. It was within the power of the defendant to prohibit smoking on the property so he had control over the third party’s actions.
Back to lecture outline on liability under Rylands v Fletcher in tort law