Pilot Law

Brief court decision on civil wrongs by Safi Jimba


General Principle of Liability (X)

The plaintiff obtained premises elsewhere but at a higher rent, and he sued the defendant for damages for trespass and was awarded special and general damages. The defendant appealed and there were cross appeals. The defendant argued in his appeal that the plaintiff could not recover damages flowing purely from the destruction of the premises. The plaintiff argued in his cross-appeal that he should have exemplary damages because the defendant obviously wanted to get rid of him.

Held: (1) the special damages would be disallowed as the plaintiff knew of the condition in the permit and could not have damages flowing from the demolition of the premises; (2) in the absence of argument, the general damages, which included an element of compensation for the tortuous entry (for which there had been no claim in the plaintiff’s claim) would stand, but the defendant’s wish to get rid of the plaintiff was not a circumstance of aggravation (as was suggested by counsel for the respondent, who relied on Loudon v. Ryder; ({1953}2 Q.B. 202); (3) as it was not a notice of six months, the notice of quit was ineffective; but as the plaintiff could not, except through the defendant, apply for a permit to put up any structure, his tenure of vacant land for another year was of no use to his business and did not affect the amount of damages.

Scott F.J.: “Appellant’s counsel submits that even if the entry on the land was tortuous, the rule volenti non fit injuria applies to the demolition of the buildings, and if he is correct in this submission the plaintiff cannot recover any damage, special or general, which flowed purely from the demolition of the buildings. In my view, this submission is well founded. The plaintiff was aware of the conditions attached to the permission to build before he took advantage of it to put-up his buildings and I do not consider that he can recover damages from the defendant merely because the defendant has complied with these conditions. To be continued next week

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