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Topic 6. Liability for animals test. Liability for animals. Question 1. Which common-law areas of tort can be used to make a claim in cases involving animals?. Liability for animals. Answer 1. It is possible to bring a successful action in torts such as: negligence nuisance

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Topic 6

Topic 6

Liability for animals test


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Question 1

Which common-law areas of tort can be used to make a claim in cases involving animals?


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Answer 1

  • It is possible to bring a successful action in torts such as:

  • negligence

  • nuisance

  • Rylands v Fletcher

  • trespass to goods, land and the person


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Question 2

How does s.6(2) of the Animals Act 1971 define dangerous animals?


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Answer 2

A dangerous species is defined by s.6(2) of the Animals Act 1971as a species:

(a) not commonly domesticated in the British Isles; and

(b) whose fully grown animals normally have such characteristics that they are likely, unless restrained, to cause severe damage or that any damage that they may cause is likely to be severe


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Question 3

Who is the ‘keeper’ according to the Animals Act 1971?


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Answer 3

The ‘keeper’ of the animal is responsible for it

and is defined in s.6(3) as the person who:

(a) owns the animal or has it in his or her possession, or

(b) is the head of a household of which a member under the age of 16 owns the animal or has it in his or her possession


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Liability for animals

Question 4

What three things must be proved in order to establish liability for damage caused by a non-dangerous animal?


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Liability for animals

Answer 4

  • The claimant must prove the following:

  • Damage was likely to be caused or likely to be severe.

  • The likelihood of the damage being caused or being severe was due to a characteristic of the animal in question (which is not usually common to that species or is only common at certain times).

  • The characteristics were known to the ‘keeper’.


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Liability for animals

Question 5

What happened in the case of Cummings v Grainger (1977)?


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Liability for animals

Answer 5

The defendant kept an Alsatian guard dog on his scrap yard. The claimant was bitten by the dog when she entered the yard with a friend who was an employee there. All three parts of the test were satisfied, yet the defendant was not liable has he had a defence under s.5(2) and s.5(3).


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Question 6

If livestock trespasses onto another person’s land, what does s.7 allow that person to do?


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Answer 6

Under s.7, the claimant may detain the animal until he or she receives compensation for the damage it has caused or the expenses incurred from looking after it. If the claimant does not receive payment within 14 days, he or she can sell the animal at public auction, keep the money owed and give the remainder to the animal’s keeper. If the claimant is going to exercise this right of detention (formally known as ‘distress damage feasant’), he or she must inform the police within 48 hours.


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Question 7

Which defence failed in the case of Matthews v Wicks (1987)?


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Liability for animals

Answer 7

The defendant’s sheep were grazing on common land and the highway. Some of the sheep trespassed in the claimant’s garden and caused damage. The defendant could not rely on the defence contained in s.5(5), as it was not a lawful use of the highway.


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Question 8

Under s.3 of the Animals Act 1971, what are the four defences available to the keeper of a dog that injures livestock?


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Answer 8

  • Under s.3 of the Animals Act 1971, the keeper of a dog that causes damage by killing or injuring livestock will be liable for damages, unless he or she can prove one of the following defences:

  • fault of the claimant (s.5(1))

  • assumption of risk (s.5(2))

  • contributory negligence (s.10)

  • livestock has strayed onto the land of the dog owner (s.5(4))


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Liability for animals

Question 9

Which type of liability is governed by s.8 of the Animals Act 1971?


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Liability for animals

Answer 9

Animals straying onto the highway.


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Question 10

What happened in the case of Davies v Davies (1975)?


Topic 6

Liability for animals

Answer 10

The defendant grazed his sheep on common land where his mother was entitled to do so. The claimant collided with one of the defendant’s sheep and claimed damages. The defendant was not liable under s.8, as he was licensed by the owner to graze his animals on the unfenced common land.


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