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Torts - Rule in Rylands v Fletcher

. R v Henderson

In Rv Henderson (Div Ct, 2008) the Divisional Court considered the rule in Rylands v Fletcher:
The Rule in Rylands v. Fletcher

[10] The trial judge held that the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher did not apply because “the management of the Trent-Severn Waterway is a general benefit for the community within the boundaries of the watershed” and as such did not constitute a non-natural use of the land, which is a requisite element for the operation of the rule. That is a correct statement of and application of the law: Tock v. St. John’s Metropolitan Area Board, 1989 CanLII 15 (SCC), [1989] 2 S.C.R. 1181 at 1189; Allen M. Linden, Canadian Tort Law, 5th ed. (Toronto: Butterworths, 1997) at 482. Mr. Henderson argues that this exception does not apply because the management of the Trent-Severn Waterway did not provide a benefit to him or to others in his community along the Gull River. Even if this could be said to be true, which is debatable, it is not necessary that the benefit be to a specific landowner. It is indisputable that the management of the waterway is a benefit to the greater community with respect to protecting habitats of fish and waterfowl, maintaining a potable water supply for nearby communities, allowing for the production of hydro-electric power and providing a navigable waterway. Whether or not Mr. Henderson received a direct benefit is irrelevant.

[11] Accordingly, there is no basis to interfere with the trial judge’s conclusion that there is no cause of action based on the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher.



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