Act of God – Law of Torts – Notes

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Act of God – It is an operation of natural forces so unexpected that no human course or skill could reasonably be expected to anticipate it.

In order for an event to be classified as Act of God following criteria has been prescribed in Transco PLC v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council ([2003] UKHL 61):

  • which involve no human agency
  • which is not realistically possible to guard against
  • which is due directly and exclusively to natural causes and
  • which could not have been prevented by any amount of foresight, plans, and care.

Nichols v Marsland [(1876) 2 ExD 1]- Defendant formed artificial lake by damming up natural system. An extra ordinary and violent thunderstorm broke down the artificial barriers and water escaped destroying the bridge. It was held that defendant is not liable due to act of God.


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