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Richard Clark v Keren Bowlt

The owner and rider of a horse that collided with a motorist and caused an accident was not strictly liable under s 2(2) of the Animals Act 1971 because the risk of damage was not due to a characteristic normally found in horses in the particular circumstances.

7 July 2006

The appellant owner and rider of a horse (B) appealed against the judge’s decision that she was strictly liable under s 2(2)(a) and s 2(2)(b) of the Animals Act 1971 for injuries caused to the respondent motorist (C). C had been driving along a main road, and slowed his vehicle as he passed a horse being ridden by B on the narrow grass verge on his nearside, proceeding in the same direction. As C passed the horse, it moved into the road in a movement that could not be controlled by B and hit the front nearside of the car. Both C and B sustained injuries. C sued B in negligence and under s 2 of the Act. B counterclaimed against C alleging negligence. The judge found that neither party had been negligent, but that C’s claim under s 2 succeeded, having considered, pursuant to s 2(2)(a) that if the horse had caused damage, it was likely to be severe because the horse was a heavy animal, and having identified as the relevant characteristic under s 2(2)(b) the propensity of a horse ...

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