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Facts

Watt, a fireman, was sent out on a truck to help a woman who was trapped under a heavy vehicle. The regular truck which carried a heavy jack was not available and there was nothing on the truck to lash it to. The truck stopped suddenly at a red light and Watt was injured. Watt was unsuccessful at trial which he appealed.

Issue

  1. Is the only thing that risk needs to be balanced against truly the burden of the taking the necessary measures to eliminate the risk?

Decision

Appeal dismissed.

Reasons

Lord Denning states that another factor must be considered: one must balance the risk against the end to be achieved. He states that the saving of "life or limb", which the firemen were doing, justifies taking a considerable risk and here the risk outweighs the risk that was taken by the fire department.

Ratio

There is more to the cost of prevention than simply the monetary cost; the utility of the conduct must be considered.

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