Logourl black
From our private database of 14,200+ case briefs...

R. v. Benge

Maidstone Crown Court
44 F. & F. 504 (1865)


Benge (defendant) was a prisoner serving as foreman of a gang of workers who were taking up railroad tracks and repairing them. Misreading a train timetable, Benge assumed that a train would not be arriving at the area his gang was working on until 5:20 p.m. when it fact a train was due to arrive at 3:15. A worker was sent ahead to signal any approaching train to stop, but instead of going 1000 yards ahead he went only 540 yards, leaving less time for a train to stop. On seeing a train approaching, the worker raised his warning sign, but the engine-driver was not paying careful attention and did not immediately see the signal. By the time the engine-driver applied the brakes, it was too late to stop the train before it reached the area where the tracks had been taken up. As a result, the train crashed and many people were killed. At his trial for negligently causing the accident, Benge argued that, although he was negligent, the accident could not have occurred without the negligence of the flagman in not going far enough up the tracks and the failure of the engine-driver to pay careful attention. After the instructions from the trial judge summarized below, Benge was found guilty. There is no record of an appeal.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Pigott, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 252,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.