The Law School Authority

Gorris v. Scott Case Brief

Summary of Gorris v. Scott, [1874] 9. L.R. (Exch.) 125

Facts: D, a ship owner, was carrying P’s sheep into Great Britain when a number of these sheep were washed overboard.  P claims that this happened because D did not comply with Contagious Diseases Act which requires the ship owner to have separate dens for the animals on the ship.

Issue:  Can P recover for the loss of the sheep under the Act?

Holding: NO

Rationale:  According to the court, “…looking at the Act, it is perfectly clear that its provision were all enacted with a totally different view; there was no purpose, direct or indirect, to protect against such damage, but, as is recited in the preamble, the Act is directed against the possibility of sheep or cattle being exposed to disease on their way to this country.”  If the sheep had contracted disease and P was suing for such damages, then D would have been liable for not complying with the Act. But in the current case, D’s noncompliance with the act resulted in a harm that the Act was never designed to protect against.


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