Civil obligations to not injure our neighbours in New Zealand are dealt with by the use of tort law (textbook). Negligence is the most significant of all tort law and is the relevant tort I will be using to examine this case. This case involves David who is felling trees on a property, on the last tree he was felling he careless and hurried to fell the last tree. As a result the tree fell on the neighbouring property, demolishing the boundary fence, a shed wall, and furthermore causing explosives in the shed to explode where the shed burns, as well as the garage next to it, where a vintage care was parked which also burned.
The issue is whether David has been negligent in failing to carefully fell the trees and liable for the demolishing of Connor’s fence, shed, and garage, and Marcs car.
The specific laws and principles would relate to this case would be negligence with the elements of duty of care, foreseeability, proximity, and causation.
For David to ...view middle of the document...
(reference textbook pg 222).
In the event the court finds a duty of care the next issue is whether the garage,
Shed, fence, and car demolishing is a result of David being negligent.
The damage caused is remote from the defendant. The proximity between David and marc is too remote for David to have been negligent. It was not foreseeable by a reasonable person that David felling the trees would result in Connor’s shed catching fire, and Marc’s vintage car.
The liability would therefore not extend to David. Liability may extend to David for the destruction of the shed and the fence, but compensation for the garage and Marcs car is unreasonable.
The “but for?” rule suggests would the explosives have exploded if it weren’t for David’s actions but on there own, from either time passing or perhaps a natural disaster.
We need more facts about the explosives in the shed, and whether or not Connor should have had these volatile explosives in his possession.
Lord Aitken’s elements of foreseeability and neighbourhood principle arise in this situation, as it was not reasonably foreseeable by David, or any other reasonable person, that cutting a tree down would cause an explosion and resulting in the demolishing of a car and garage. It is however foreseeable by a reasonable person that David not taking proper care when felling the last tree would result in some damage to the neighbouring boundary such as the fence and shed.
If David were aware of the explosives a reasonable person would suggest that he would have taken more care when felling the last tree, such as in the Donoghue v. Stevenson case “one exercises more caution carrying a bomb than a pumpkin”.
In my opinion David is not negligent or liable to pay for the garage or vintage car because of the elements of causation and foreseeability.
However it is foreseeable that the tree falling would demolish the fence and shed. Therefore I think compensation for the damages of the shed and fence will be obtainable.
In case I am wrong be prepared that courts can interpret cases in different ways. Other court decisions such as contributory negligence could be ruled, or David could be found liable to compensate for all the special damages.