Friday, 12 October 2012

Law report - eviction and care of property

Ingram v Robinson [2012] SC (Bda) 50 Civ

The Plaintiff had been evicted by the Defendant.

On the instructions of the Bailiff, some of the Plaintiff's property was left on the side of the road; some were stored in a warehouse; and others were left in the premises with a changed lock.

The Plaintiff then claimed that some of the items were damaged or missing, including jewellery.

Hargun AJ held that the Defendant had not become a bailee of the goods and was not responsible for their loss.

Three factors were considered:
  • the list of missing items was not the result of a physical inspection but was from memory;
  • it is probable that some of the missing items were lost after having been deposited on the side of the road;
  • the plaintiff entered the premises on numerous occasions after the eviction and so it could not be said with certainty whether they had ever come into the hands of the Defendant.

Even if the Defendant had become a bailee of the goods, she had done what was right and reasonable in the circumstances, as:
  • the Plaintiff knew of the eviction in advance;
  • she could have removed her own belongings;
  • she did not attend the eviction;
  • the bailment was involuntary as the items should not have been left there in any case;
  • the Defendant acted under the control of the bailiff; and
  • the storage location used was secure.

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