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Bolton v. Stone

House of Lords
[1951] A.C. 850


Facts

Bessie Stone (plaintiff) lived on Beckenham Road near a cricket ground owned by Bolton (defendant). One day, she was walking in her yard and was hit on the head and injured by a stray ball hit by a visiting player on the cricket ground. Stone sued Bolton on theories that the cricket ground constituted a public nuisance, and that the ground’s owners acted with common law negligence. At trial, witnesses testified that in the thirty years of the ground’s operation prior to the incident, only six or seven balls had been hit onto Beckenham Road. Additionally, the ground was surrounded by seventeen feet of fence rising above the road. The trial court held for Bolton on both of Stone’s claims. The appellate court reversed on the negligence claim. The decision was again appealed, and the higher court held for Stone on both claims. Bolton appealed to the House of Lords, which unanimously ruled in his favor.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Lord Reid)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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