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Thing Speaks For Itself

Factor Speaks For Itself

 

Factor Speaks For Itself

By

S j tubrazy

 

Res ipsa loquitur (thing speaks for itself) is a tenet which, in reality, belongs to the Law of Torts.

As a canon, mere testimony that an event has happened or an accident has occurred, the trigger of which is unknown, is not evidence of negligence. But the peculiar circumstances constituting the event or accident, in a peculiar case, might themselves proclaim in concordant, clear, and unambiguous voices the negligence of somebody as the trigger of the event or accident. It is to such situations that the maxim res ipsa loquitur may possibly apply, if the trigger of the accident is unknown and no reasonable explanation as to the cause is coming from the defendants.

To highlight the point, it may possibly be known as that in such circumstances, the event or accident ought to be of a type which does not occur in the ordinary course of items if those who have administrate and control use due care. But according to some decisions satisfaction of this condition alone is not sufficient for res ipsa to come into play and it has to be further satisfied that the event which triggered accident was inside the defendant's control. The reason for this second requirement is that where the defendant has control of the thing which caused the injury, he is in a far better position than the plaintiff to clarify how the accident occurred. Instances of such special type of accidents which "tell their own story" of being offspring of negligence, are furnished by circumstances, such as exactly where a motor car mounts or projects over a pavement and hurts somebody there or travelling in the automobile one automobile ramming another from behind, or even a head on collision on the wrong side of the road. Salmond on the Law of Torts has recommended not to treat this maxim as a special rule of evidence. This is what he says, " considerably of the confusion is due to a failure to appreciate that situations where res ipsa loquitur applies might differ enormously in the strength, significance and cogency of the res proved. There are many circumstances in which the most eminent judges have been divided on the question no matter whether an inference of negligence could properly be drawn from the details proved or admitted. Looked at in this light, it is not easy to see why the maxim need to be treated as a unique component of the law of evidence."

Lord Dunedan, believed it no more a rule of evidence than a means of shifting the onus to prove negligence.  

Therefore, for the application of the maxim res ipsa loquitur no much less critical a requirement is that res ought to not only bespeak negligence, but pin it on the defendant. No matter whether the principle of res ipsa loquitur is applicable, it might be observed that res ipsa loquitur (factor speaks for itself) is a principle which, in reality, belongs to the Law of B Torts. In Ballard v. North British Railway Co. Lord Shaw said, nobody would have named it a principle if it had not been in Latin, although warning against the discovering to expand this expression into a rule of substantive law, Mr. Shaw conceded that this phrase "just has location in the scheme of, and search for, causation upon which the mind sets itself working". In the same case Lord Dunedan emphasized, "it is not safe to take the remarks which have been made as to the principle of res ipsa loquitur in 1 class of circumstances and apply them indiscriminately to another class".

(Writer is practicing lawyer of banking and cyber laws in Pakistan)