Haynes vs Harwood Case Summary 1935 KB

haynes vs harwood case summary

Haynes vs Harwood is a typical case law of Rescue Case. Haynes v Harwood is also an exception to volenti non fit injuria and novus actus interveniens.

Volenti non fit injuria means if a person gives consent for participation in a risky act, he cannot later complain about injury caused him during the period of that act.

Novus actus interveniens means when the accident happens because of the intervention of some conscious acting person between the wrongful act and, as a result, the chain of causation between the cause of the accident and the damages breaks.


1. Appeal in this Higher Court against the decision of Lower Court in favor of the plaintiff (Haynes—a police officer; respondent herein) awarding damages for personal injury by the defendant (Harwood – the owner of horse van; appellant herein).

2. Mr. Bird was the servant of the defendant drove the horse van to Quinney’s yard for unloading. He tied the horses via drag on the van’s wheel and parked it facing towards a police station before going inside the wharf for receipt.

3. After that, two boys with mischievous propensity threw stones on horses which horses started running towards police out of fear.

4. Plaintiff tried to stop the horses to rescue nearby children and an old lady, and succeeded, but was severely injured as one of the horses fell on him.

5. Plaintiff sued defendant for damages and was awarded compensation.


1. The defendant (appellant herein) wants to take defence of novus actus interveniens as the chain of causation broke because of a new act by the boys who threw a stone on horses.

2. The defendant also wants to take defence of volenti non fit injuria stating that the plaintiff voluntarily took the risk and it was his duty to safeguard the public.

Legal Issue:

Can the defendant claim the defence of volenti non fit injuria and novus actus interveniens in this type of rescue case?

Ratio & Decision:

Greer, Maugham, and Roche LJJ

1. Court said neither novus actus interveniens nor volenti non fit injuria would apply in this case as this is a RESCUE CASE. He acted on the spur of the moment.

2. The defendant’s servant was negligent to take reasonable care as the street was a regular crowded place and the servant knew the fact that some mischievous children could be around to do something, causing the horses to run away.

3. Court held the defendant liable for the injury to the plaintiff and DISMISSED this appeal.

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