Author: Riya Kumar, DME, Noida.
Gloucester Grammar School’s Case
(1410) YB 11 Hen IV, fo. pl. 201, 23
The most important feature of the law is to protect the legal rights of the citizens. Hence whoever tries to infringe someone’s rights, the law punishes them.
But a question arises when no legal right is infringed but the damage is caused to someone then how justice is served by the law?
This question was raised by a leading case of Gloucester Grammar School. The case is analyzed with the help of various other case laws.
In the case of Gloucester Grammar School, the defendant was a school teacher in plaintiff’s school. Due to some dispute, the defendant left plaintiff’s school and set up a rival school next to that of the plaintiff. As the defendant was famous amongst students for his teaching, boys from the plaintiff’s school left it and joined the defendant’s school. Plaintiff sued the defendant for the monetary loss caused.
It was held that no suit could lie, the defendant was not liable. Compensation is no ground of action even though the monetary loss is caused but if no legal right is violated. The defendant had lawfully set up his school and did not violate any legal right of the plaintiff in doing so.
Also, the students earlier studying in the appellant’s school liked the teaching style of the defendant, hence it was their choice to choose the institution to study in. The appellant could not stop the defendant to run a business as a competition at his school.
In the case of Gloucester Grammar School, the judgment of not holding the defendant liable for setting up a rival school next to that of the plaintiff was with accordance to the Law of Torts, ‘Tort’ means ‘Civil Wrong’.
Law of Torts is known to be “An instrument to make people adhere to conduct of reasonable behavior and respect the rights and interests of one another.”
This it does by protecting interests and by providing for situations when a person whose protected interest is violated can recover compensation for the loss suffered by him from the person who has violated the same also known as ‘Injuria Sine Damno’ in Latin, which means ‘injury suffered without an actual loss’.
The case we are discussing is related to ‘An act which caused damage but no legal right is infringed or compromised’ also known as ‘Damnum Sine Injuria’ in Latin, which means ‘damage suffered without legal injury’.The plaintiff had suffered considerable damages but bona fide competition can afford no ground of action.
Similarly, in the case of Chasemore v/s Richards 1859, Plaintiff was running a mill on his own land, and for this purpose, he was using the water of the stream for a long time. The Deft dug well in his own land and thereby cut off the underground water supply of stream. Through percolation, the water gathered in the well of deft.
The quantity of water of the stream was reduced and the mill was closed for non-availability of water. Plaintiff sued deft for damage caused.
It was held with accordance to Damnum Sine Injuria that Deft was not liable.
In India Law of Torts has been given constitutional value as it is applied in deciding many cases for example-
In the case of Vishnu Dutt Sharma v. Board of High School and Intermediate Examination AIR 1981, the plaintiff was a student who was wrongfully detained by the principal, on the basis of misconstruction of the relevant regulations, on the account of the shortage of attendance. The plaintiff filed a suit and argued that he was entitled to damages as he had suffered a loss of one year.
The court held that the plaintiff cannot claim the compensation as a misconstruction of regulations does not amount to Tort.
According to me, in the case of Gloucester Grammar School, the decision of not holding the defendant liable who had set up a rival school opposite to that of the appellant was correct. As students in the appellant’s school liked the defendants teaching style and it was their choice to choose the institution they would like to study in.
And the appellant could not restrain the defendant to run a school because it is his right to run a lawful business with his consent.