57 Am. L. Rev. 549 (1923)
The Rule in Rylands vs. Fletcher and Its Limitations

handle is hein.journals/amlr57 and id is 553 raw text is: THE RULE IN RYLANDS V. FLETCHER

THE RULE IN RYLANDS vs. FLETCHER AND
ITS LIMITATIONS.*
The rule known as that in Rylands v. Fletcher
is one of the most important cases of absolute lia-
bility recognized by our law-one of the chief in-
stances in which a man acts at his peril and is re-
sponsible for accidental harm, independent of the
existence of either wrongful intent or negligence.
-Salmond on Torts, 5th ed., p. 200.
It is the object of this paper to state in somewhat ele-
mentary form the doctrine, scope and limitations of this
leading case which, as Dean Wigmore says, has proven
epochal in its consequences (7 Harv. L. Rev. 455) upon
the development of the law of Torts. No effort has been
made to discuss or analyze the true philosophical or juristic
basis of the Rule; the attempt is merely to collect the Eng-
lish and Canadian decisions illustrating the doctrine of the
principal case as well as the restrictions which have been
imposed thereon.
I.
THE RULE IN RYLANDS V. FLETCHER.
The person who for his own purposes brings
on his lands and collects and keeps there anything
likely to do mischief if it escapes, must keep it in at
his peril, if he does not do so, is prima facie
answerable for all the damage which is the natural
consequence of its escape.'
The facts in this importailt leading case were as follows:
The plaintiff was the lessee of certain mines. The defend-
ant who owned a mill on the adjoining land constructed a
* This article is reprinted with the express permission of the Editor-
ial Board of the Canadian Bar Review, the article having appeared in
the February number of that publication.
1 Per Blackburn, J., in Fletcher v. Rylands (1866), L. R. 1 Ex. 265
at p. 279; affirmed in the House of Lords (1868) L. 1. 3 H. L. 330.

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