Haseldine v C.A. Daw & Son Ltd [1941] 2 KB 343

Tort law – Negligence – Liability of owner


The case involved a hydraulic lift which was used to access the upper floor flats of an apartment block which were rented out to tenants. The landlord remained in occupation of the lift and had insurance against third party risks in the course of using the lift. The insurance company made occasional inspections of the lift in this respect. There was also an agreement made between the landlord and an engineering company to maintain the lift each month and report issues. The engineers told the landlord the rams were badly worn but not that it was dangerous to use. On one visit, one of the engineers failed to repack the machinery properly, leaving it weakened for the next use. The next day, the plaintiff used the lift and was injured when the lift broke. The plaintiff brought an action against the landlord and engineers.


The legal issue, in this case, was whether the landlord was liable for the injury caused to the plaintiff having used the lift in the course of events or whether the onus was on the engineering company for not having replaced the parts of the lift effectively.


The Court of Appeal held that the only obligation on the landlord was to ensure that the lift was reasonably safe and that he had employed competent engineers to inspect the machinery. It was held on this basis that the landlord was not liable for the incident. The owner was not aware of the danger caused by the fact that the mechanic had not repacked the machine satisfactorily.