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Report No. 85

3.41. Third reading.-

During the third Reading, Lord Danesfort explained the principle by quoting the Select Committee1:-

"The Select Committee go on to say in paragraph 10-perhaps your Lordships will pardon my reading this paragraph, because it really summarises far better than I can do the principle of the Bill. By reason of the precedents referred to above the Committee have regarded themselves as free to consider, entirely on its merits, the question as to whether, in the cases with which the Bill deals, good reason was shown for making a further departure from the general principles of the law of negligence. The Committee have come to the conclusion that some such departure is justified.

They think, on the one hand, that a motor car upon the road, especially in view of the vast and constantly increasing Volume of motor traffic, may be regarded to some extent as coming within the principle of liability defined in Rylands v. Fletcher. From the point of view of the pedestrians on the other hand, it seems to the Committee that the roads of this country have-at all events in certain places and at certain seasons-been rendered, by the use of motor vehicles, places to which it is dangerous for pedestrians to resort; that, nevertheless, it is necessary for pedestrians to resort to the roads; and that where a pedestrian, without negligence on his part, is injured by a motorist whether negligent or not, he should be entitled to recover damages."

The last paragraph to which I need refer is paragraph 11:

"It may be said against this that it is hardship on the motorist to be made to pay damages for an accident which was not attributable to his fault. The Committee take the view that this is, perhaps, a misleading way of regarding the question and would put it rather that the payment or compensation to innocent pedestrians who suffer injury is a duty, not so much of the individual motorist who does the damage, as of the motoring community as a whole, and that the increased liability of the motorist ought to be covered, as provided for in the Bill, by insurance against the increased third-party risk."

1. Vol. 93, H.L. Debates, Col. 148 (Third Reading).

Claims for Compensation under Chapter 8 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 Back

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