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Carslogie Steamship Co Ltd v Royal Norwegian Government [1952] AC 292

Law of Tort – Novus Actus Interveniens – Causation – Natural Events – Negligence – Economic Loss

Facts

The complainant’s vessel, Heimgar, was damaged by a collision with the defendant, Carslogie. The defendants admitted negligence and damage and this was not in dispute. The complainant’s had temporary repairs carried out on the vessel and it was certified to sail for New York. On the way, the Heimgar suffered bad damage from stormy weather at sea. The vessel was in need of permanent repairs to fix this damage and this repair work began in New York and would last for 30 days. During that time, the repairs for the collision with the Carslogie were completed.

Issues

The defendant appealed. The issue concerned the original negligent act causing the collision by the defendant and whether this action should be responsible for the further loss that was sustained by stormy water sailing to New York.

Held

It was held that the defendants were only liable and responsible for the loss of profit resulting from the collision, not for further damage sustained by the natural events at sea. The claim for loss during the 10 day period was not awarded. The chain of causation had been broken by the natural event of the storms at sea, which would relieve the defendant from their responsibility for economic loss. Thus, the storm was a novus actus interveniens and the defendants cannot be held liable for further loss that was sustained as a result of a natural event.


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