0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Mirvahedy v Henley, House of Lords

25 March 2003
The issues

RTA – Animal Act 1971 Section 2.

The facts

The Claimant sued for damages for personal injuries when his car collided with a horse belonging to the Defendants. The horse had escaped from its field during the night breaking through an electric fence, a barbed wire fence and undergrowth. The horse, together with two other horses in the same field had got onto the A380. One of them crashed into the Claimant’s car causing damage and serious personal injuries. The Judge at first instance found that the horses had escaped because of some unknown event that had caused them to panic and trample the fences and posts that would otherwise have been adequate for keeping in normal horses. He found no negligence.

He found no liability under Section 2(ii) Animals Act 1971 because the damage had been caused by the presence of the horses on the road, rather than by any abnormal or unusual characteristics they displayed. The Claimant appealed to the Court of Appeal, who allowed the Appeal on the basis that the accident had been caused by the particular characteristics of the horses once they had escaped and that the Animals Act did cover temporary characteristics, which were normal to the breed, even in unusual circumstances.

The Defendant appealed to the House of Lords.

The decision

The Decision (by a Majority of 3-2)

1. The Court of Appeal had been correct. The keeper could be liable where the behaviour of the animal was not normally found in animals of the same species, but the keeper could also be liable where the behaviour, although not generally displayed by animals of that species, was normal in particular circumstances or at particular times. So the behaviour of the horses in bolting in panic was normal in the circumstances of being panicked by an external event.


As Lord Nicholl noted, it is difficult to see circumstances in which Section 2 (ii)(b)
will not be satisfied where an animal has caused an accident and the width of the strict liability imposed by the Act is accordingly widened.

focus on...

Legal updates

Contingent loss in negligence claims

Contingent loss is relevant to limitation; specifically, the date at which a claimant’s cause of action accrues for the purposes of a claim in the tort of negligence (as many claims against professional advisers are framed).


Legal updates

Legal and regulatory monthly update - September 2019

The latest update covering delegated authority, insurance product development, the senior insurance managers regime, data protection, operational control frameworks, Lloyds market, and horizon scanning.


Legal updates

Kuoni referred to the CJEU by Supreme Court for clarification - possible impact on breach of contract, vicarious liability and assumption of responsibility claims for sexual abuse and assault

We were hoping to be able to give you some interesting insights following the judgment of X v Kuoni Travel Ltd but that will have to wait for another day.


Legal updates

The disappearance of LIBOR

Companies should undertake a comprehensive review and audit to identify those products and legacy contracts that are LIBOR-linked and carry out an in-depth risk assessment of discontinuation. Where possible, companies should look at appointing an individual to oversee the programme.


The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up