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In Re Polemis

King’s Bench
3 K.B. 560 (1921)


Polemis (plaintiff) owned a ship and chartered it to the defendants. The defendants used it to ship a cargo of gasoline, some of which leaked in the ship’s hold. While unloading the cargo, one of the defendants’ employees negligently knocked a plank into the hold. When the plank landed, it created a spark that caused an explosion and subsequent fire, destroying the ship. Polemis sued the defendants for the damages. The House of Lords found in favor of Polemis. The defendants appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Bankes, J.)

Concurrence (Scrutton, J.)

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