Strict liability continues – Case law update

Following the case of Mirvahedy v Henley in 2003, it is well known that if an animal causes damage to a property, the animal’s owner may be strictly liable for damages under the Animals Act 1971.

What is more striking, however, is the unpredictability of how a court may interpret that Act, as the two cases below highlight.

In 2008 McKenny v Foster – t/a the Foster Partnership the court found that no liability rested with the owner of a cow that had leapt over a six-bar gate and cattle grid before colliding with a car.
Yet last year in Williams v Hawkes 2007 the court found that the owner of a cow that had leapt over several fences and charged through many hedges before causing a collision on a road was strictly liable for the damage caused.

These cases highlight just how important it is for farmers to ensure that they maintain a good public liability insurance policy that covers them for any damage and injuries caused by the escape of their animals and livestock.

If you would like to discuss these cases or would like a copy of any of the above judgments, please do not hesitate to get in touch.