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Owners of dwelling liable for escape of fire to neighbour’s property arising from negligence of building contractor

By: Ian Fitzharris BL

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High Court finds owners and occupiers of a dwelling house in Dublin liable in negligence to their neighbour for the escape of fire from the roof of the property following works completed by an independent building contractor.

Negligence - escape of fire - liability at common law - s.1 Accidental Fires Act 1943 - parties as owners and occupiers of adjoining dwelling houses in Dublin - fire originating from first and second defendants' roof following building works spread to plaintiff's roof, causing substantial damage to both premises - independent contractor engaged by defendants already found liable in negligence to plaintiff in related proceedings (Noonan J.) - whether defendants now liable in common law for the damage caused to the applicant's premises by reason of the negligence of their own independent contractor - development of the law - strict liability for the escape of fire modified by statute where fire shown to be caused 'accidentally' - vicarious liability - tort of negligence - whether imposition of liability on respondent would be unjust - negligence arising out works of independent contractor not germane to the issue - party engaging contractor free to determine skill, expertise and extent of works permitted on his/her property - judgment entered in favour of plaintiff against all defendants.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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