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The Wagon Mound (No. 1) [1961]


  • Crew members working on a ship negligently failed to turn off a tap, which led to oil being leaked into Sydney Harbour
  • The oil drifted to below where some workmen were welding on the wharf
  • The workmen were assured that the oil was not flammable to sparks from welding
  • A fire was caused by a spark igniting some debris which in turn lit the oil
  • Significant damage was caused to the wharf


  • Could the defendant crew be liable?


  • No


  • The test of remoteness is that of reasonable foreseeability, by which the kind of damage caused must be reasonably foreseeable by the defendant, which it was not in the present case
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