Gibb v Comerford

Judgment Date01 January 1942
Date01 January 1942
CourtHigh Court

Dog kept on premises adjoining highway - Allowed uncontrolled access to highway - Dog injuring cyclist on highway - Absence of scienter - Liability of owner.

In the absence of scienter, the owner of an animal mansuetae naturae is under no obligation to prevent it from straying from his premises to an adjoining highway and is not liable for damage which it causes to persons lawfully using such highway. In determining liability for accidents caused by domestic animals on the highway, a clear distinction must be drawn between cases where the animals have strayed there (in which cases the owner is not liable in the absence of scienter) and cases where they have been brought upon the highway by their owner (in which cases the owner must exercise reasonable care to prevent them from causing damage). Heath's Garage Ltd. v. HodgesELR [1916] 2 K. B. 370, followed; Deen v. DaviesELR [1935] 2 K. B. 282, and Pitcher v. MartinUNK[1937] 3 All E. R. 918, distinguished. A dog, alleged to be the property of the defendant, ran from the defendant's front garden across a suburban highway and, being frightened by a passing motor-ear, ran back and struck the bicycle on which the plaintiff was riding. The...

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2 cases
  • Gomberg v Smith
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal
    • January 22, 1962
    ...between dogs and other domestic animals. This was the conclusion of Mr Justice Maguire (as he then was) in his admirable Judgment in Gibb v. Cowerford, 1942 Irish Reports, 295, where he reviewed the English authorities, and cited in particular from the illuminating observations of Mr Justi......
  • Ellis v Johnstone
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal
    • December 3, 1962
    ...past. Lord Maugham in Searle v. Wallbank, Mr Justice Neville in Heath's Garages Ltd. v. Hodges, Mr Justice Maguire in the Irish case of Gibb v. Comerford, and Lord Justice Harman in Gomberg v. Smith, all thought that no distinction could be drawn for the purpose of the rule between dogs and......

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