Gloucester Grammar School Case

Citation : (1410) Y.B Hill 11 Hen, 4 of 47, p 21, 36

Hon’ble justice : Justice Y. B. Hillary

Petitioner : Gloucester Grammar School

Defendant : Rival School Teacher

Facts

Gloucester grammar school was a school owned by the plaintiff. The defendant was a teacher of this school. Due to some internal conflicts, the defendant left Gloucester and set up his school in the same area. A lot of students left the plaintiff’s school and joined the new school due to the easy and direct teaching of the defendant. This led to a financial loss to the plaintiff and he filed a case against the defendant by claiming compensation for the loss caused due to the new school set up by the defendant in the same area.

Issues

 The major two issues, in this case, were whether the plaintiff can claim compensation for the loss incurred by him. And the second issue was whether this situation came under the head of damnum sine injuria. 

Contention

The plaintiff contended that the defendant set up a new school with the intention to harm him and it was a moral wrong and due to this, he has caused some financial loss. The defendant followed that there is only damage and no violation of legal rights and this case comes under the principle of damnum sine injuria.

Held

 The court held that the plaintiff has no right to seek compensation for the financial loss that he has suffered. It is clear that the plaintiff has caused some monetary loss by the act of the defendant but there is no right to sue against the defendant because it is the right of a person to choose any profession or business which is legitimate and in this case, there is no violation of private legal right. There is a financial loss caused to the plaintiff but it is the choice of the students to choose any of these schools. It may depend upon the style of teaching, fee construction, etc. so the plaintiff is not entitled to use against this. The court declared that there are all essentials of the maxim damnum sine injuria. Damnum sine injuria means damage without injury. In this case, the plaintiff has caused financial damage but his private legal right has not been infringed. When there is any violation of legal right it comes under the umbrella of injuria sine damnum.

Finally, the court held that the plaintiff is not entitled to get compensation from the defendant. And the defendant is not liable and in this case, does not have the right to sue in a court trial. Everyone has the right to do his profession or business which is legitimate and there may be competition in all the fields the person may also suffer damages in different kinds but under this situation, there is no legal remedy available. 

Comments

The principle behind this case was damnum sine injuria. If there is a violation of any private legal right, the plaintiff has the right to sue in a court trial. The defendant of this case was a teacher of the school named Gloucester Grammar School and due to some internal trifles, he left the school and set up a new rival school in the same area where Gloucester Grammar School is functioning. The fee structure of the plaintiff’s school was 40 pence while the fee structure of the defendant was very low as compared to the Gloucester Grammar school. According to the principle damnum sine injuria, he could not become liable but according to the competition act, the defendant may be liable for this situation. But taking the viewpoint of damnum sine injuria, the plaintiff has no right to claim compensation for the loss incurred by him. There is only financial damage and no violation of private legal rights. And for legal aspects, moral wrong is not considered.

In my point of view, the decision of the court was acceptable or heartily welcomed by me. This maxim acts as the rescuer for people. If we start to compensate for the moral wrongs of society, it will be difficult to find the person who is liable for the act because the act which morally wrong for one person may be right for another person. We cannot compensate for all the moral wrongs happening in society. An Advocate, who is defending a criminal is morally wrong, but taking the legal aspects, it is the right of every criminal to get himself defended. So professionally it is a legal right.

The Gloucester grammar school case was the precedent of many other judgments. Especially in the case of H.R. Krishnamoorthy vs the State of Karnataka. In the case, the plaintiff was the owner of a liquor shop at Anantpur village and the issue he raised was that the village where he was running his liquor shop was small in population size. If one more liquor shop is established then, it would lead to great competition and create huge monetary loss to the petitioner. He also contended that there is also a violation of a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Indian constitution. In this case also, the court held that there is no violation of legal rights. This comes under the principle of damnum sine injuria. There is the damage suffered by the petitioner but the act of the defendant is not violating the legal right of the petitioner. And this is a case like Gloucester Grammar school.

References

Law of Torts, R.K. Bangia, p 19

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