<i>A Case of First Impression</i>: Priestley <i>v</i>. Fowler (<i>1837</i>)

A. W. Brian Simpson

in Leading Cases in the Common Law

Published in print September 1996 | ISBN: 9780198262992
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682438 | DOI:
A Case of First Impression: Priestley v. Fowler (1837)

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This chapter discusses the case of Priestley v. Fowler. The case resulted from an unremarkable accident which took place at about midnight on 30 May 1835 between Peterborough and Norman Cross. It involved a van, drawn by four horses, driven by William Beeton. He was an employee of Thomas Fowler, a wholesale butcher of Market Deeping. The van had set out from Fowler's shop in Church Street, near the Bull Inn, in Market Deeping that same day at about half past nine at night. The ultimate destination was London, but some of the meat was to be sold en route at Buckden, twenty miles from Peterborough. Charles Priestley, another of Fowler's employees, was to travel as far as Buckden, and sell this meat. As the van approached Peterborough and passed over some stones, a cracking noise was heard. Soon after leaving the city the van toppled over. William Beeton was not seriously injured, but Charles' thigh was fractured, his shoulder dislocated, and he suffered other injuries. Charles, through his father, Brown Priestley — for he was a minor aged 19 at the time — sued his employer for damages. So far as we know today, or counsel knew in 1836, nobody had ever previously sought compensation for such an accident from his employer by a tort action.

Keywords: tort action; accident; Charles Priestley; common law

Chapter.  19701 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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