Burning the house down: liability for escape of fire

The Old Library, Lloyd's
Wednesday, 13 March 2019
1:10 pm – 1:55 pm
    • Michele De Gregorio, Barrister, Crown Office Chambers
  • Property Investors lecture

In this IIL property investors lecture Michele De Gregorio talked about the liability of property owners for the spread of fire, covering: strict liability under the rule in Rylands v Fletcher; liability for the acts of independent contractors and trespassers; and consideration of some insurance issues that commonly arise.

Owners and occupiers of property can face liability for the spread of fire from their premises in many situations.

An owner will be liable for the spread of fire caused by their own negligence or that of their employee, but can they be strictly liable in the absence of negligence? Statute first enabled in the time of Queen Anne (the Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act) may suggest not, but until recently it has been possible to bring a claim under the rule in Rylands v Fletcher. The Court of Appeal in Gore v Stannard [2014] QB 1 has recently considered this issue in depth.

It is an exception to the general law of vicarious liability that property owners may be liable for the spread of fires caused by the negligence of independent contractors on their land. Owners may also be liable for fires caused by trespassers. the circumstances in which such liability may attach will be considered.

Finally, property owners policies and liability policies often contain conditions or warranties concerning fire precautions. Some common policy issues arising in such cases will be discussed.

By the end of this lecture members would have gained an insight into:

  • Whether a property owner/occupier may be strictly liable for the escape of fire
  • When an owner may be liable for fires caused by independent contractors or trespassers
  • Some common insurance issues arising in such cases

Chair:
Steve Berning ACII, Underwriting Manager, Property Investors, Global Corporate & Specialty, Aviva.

Venue
  • The Old Library, Lloyd's
  • One Lime Street
  • London
  • EC3M 7HA
View map

Registration & Security

IIL lectures are open to CII and PFS members
CII and PFS members must register online by 10.30am on the day of the lecture
For lectures held in The Old Library, Lloyd's pass holders may also attend and do not need to register
All attendees (at any venue) must produce photo ID - either a Lloyd's pass, driving licence with photo or valid passport

Conditions:

  • Email confirmations and photo ID must be produced to security staff at the lecture venue
  • Attendance confirmations are non-transferable to any other person or lecture
  • All venues have limited capacity and registration and/or a Lloyd's pass does not guarantee admission

Please let us know what we can do to make our events fully accessible to you.

CII Accredited

This demonstrates the quality of an event and that it meets CII member CPD scheme requirements.

3/4 hours' CPD can be claimed for this event if relevant to your learning and development needs.

It is recommended that you keep any evidence of the CPD activity you have completed and upload copies to the recording tool as the CII may ask to see this if your record is selected for review. Details of the scheme can be viewed online at www.cii.co.uk/cpd.