Maxim In The Wagon Mound

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1. The main purpose of the maxim is to avoid injustice to the plaintiff as otherwise the plaintiff would be required to prove the details of the cause of the accident, which he may not know. As stated by NH Chan JCA in Teoh Guat Looi v Ng Hong Guan, res ipsa loquitur was in essence no more than a common sense approach to the effect of the evidence in certain circumstances. It means that a plaintiff prima facie establishes negligence where it is not possible for him to prove precisely how the accident happened, but on the evidence as it stands, he manages to show that the accident could not have happened without the negligence on the part of the defendant.

One important requirement is that the damage or injury which has occurred must give rise to the presumption that the
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No. Because before The Wagon Mound, the court was in favour of the direct consequence test which can be seen in Re Polemis and Furness, Withy & Co Ltd. However, the test rests on the ‘fault’ principle rather than ‘compensation’, whereby once a person is established to have committed a tort, he has to bear all the losses that arises as a consequence thereof. Consequently, the court uses the reasonable foresight test in The Wagon Mound, as the Privy Council ruled that Re Polemis should not be considered good law.

4. The Wagon Mound is the accepted test in Malaysia, approved in the case of Government of Malaysia v Jumat bin Mahmud & Ors.

5. In Bolton v Stone, the HOL held that the distance between the place where the ball was hit to the edge of the field which was surrounded by a seven foot wall made injury to the plaintiff rather remote. A person must only take reasonable steps against risks that may be materialise. Thus the cricket club was held not liable for allowing cricket to be played without having taken extra precautions, such as increasing the height of the fence. On the facts, the freak kick has hardly ever happened before. Therefore, the school has no liability towards
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