Baile Case Study

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ABSOLUTE LIABILTY TO DUTY OF REASONABLE CARE: EVOLUTION OF THE LIABILITY OF BAILEE IN COMMON LAW In early days, liability in bailment was absolute. The bailee, having been given the position of owner with regard to third parties, was liable to the bailor, and liability in those days meant strict liability. It was no excuse for the bailee to say that the damage or the failure to return was due to no fault of his own; he was liable in any case. The bailee had to safeguard the goods under all circumstances except against Act of God and enemies of the King. In Southcott v. Bennet , popularly referred to as The Southcote 's case and spoken of as 'the high water mark of the theory of absolute liability ' , where goods were delivered to a bailee for safe custody andt he was robbed of them, the court held him liable, saying "it is a delivery which chargeth him to keep at his peril" , thus showing absolute liability.…show more content…
Viscount Hertford, this stance(of imposing absolute liability on all bailees) was softened and Pemberton C.J. refused to apply the rule in Southcote 's case to a gratuitous bailee. It was laid down that "if money be given to one to keep generally without consideration and if the person be robbed, he is discharged". Later on in Coggs v. Bernard , Lord Hold further reduced the scope of absolute liability by restricting it to those bailees who exercised a public calling. In this much celebrated case, a distinction was made been a gratuitous bailee and a bailee for reward(consideration). From the latter a reasonable duty of care was expected. Gratuitous bailees were liable only upon gross negligence. Subsequently in 1782, Lord Mansfield in Forward v. Pittard , further limited the absolute liability of bailee to common carriers alone, saying that a carriers is in nature of an insurer without the latter 's

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