Litigation Recent Decisions 25/03/97

Fire brigades not liable if they fail to turn up at fire

(1) Capital and Counties v Hampshire County Council & ors (2) Digital Equipment Co v Hampshire County Council & ors (3) The Church of Latter Day Saints (Great Britain) v West Yorkshire Fire and Civil Defence Authority (4) John Munroe (Acrylics) v London Fire Brigade and Civil Defence Authority & ors (1997)

CA (Stuart-Smith LJ, Potter LJ and Judge LJ) 14/3/97

Summary: A fire brigade owes no duty of care to the owner of a burning building to turn up at the fire or even to perform competently when it is actually at the scene of the fire although there is a sufficiently proximate relationship between individual fire officers and the owner/occupier to give rise to a duty of care on their part when performing their duties at the scene.

On 17 December 1996 Lord Justice Judge ordered that the four appeals against earlier decisions should be consolidated because they raised similar questions of law concerning the duty of care owed by fire brigades to the owners/occupiers of buildings damaged or destroyed by fire.