Public bodies have no statutory duty to provide flood defences and do not have enough funds to meet all their requirements. This has led to a recognition that flood prevention is not something to be left to others and now there is encouragement for householders to undertake “do it yourself” flood defences. Such measures are not without risk of damage to other properties. Therefore, an investigation has been undertaken to establish whether there is associated legal liability, should such damage occur. No cases have been published directly concerning liabilities for damage resulting from these activities. However, the Doctrine of Precedent declares that cases must be decided the same way when their material facts are the same. Cases which have similar relevant material facts, although not arising from modern “do it yourself” flood defence are identified. The ratio decidendi of cases concerning the receipt and passage of naturally flowing water, the increased passage of water to the property of others, and the overtopping or failure of structures that have held back water are examined. Then discusses these cases in the context of home flood defence. Concludes that protecting one's property from flooding is legally a relatively safe activity.
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