chapter  5
‘We think that the true rule of law is, that the person who for his own purposes brings on his lands and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes, must keep it in at his peril, and, if he does not do so, is prima facie answerable for all the damage which is the natural consequence of its escape (Blackburn J in Rylands v Fletcher, below, p 000).
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Lord Denning MR:… The question…becomes this: has the plaintiff a particular right which he is entitled to have protected? To this the answer which runs through all the cases is: a man who is carrying on a lawful trade or calling has a right to be protected from any unlawful interference with it… It is a right which is in the nature of a right of property… [The Attorney General] has, we are told, refused his consent to a relator action-presumably because no public rights are involved. So perforce if the law is to be obeyedand justice to be done-the courts must allow a private individual himself to bring an action against the offender-in those cases where his private rights and interests are specially affected by the breach [of the criminal law]. This principle is capable of extension so as to apply not only to rights of property or rights in the nature of it, but to other rights or interests…

Samuel, G and Rinkes, J, Law of Obligations and Legal Remedies, 1996, Cavendish Publishing, p 68

A legal right…is a construct of legal science: it takes its form from the relationship between persona and res and this is the reason why one always talks of a right to something. In other words a right is a legal concept that uses the conceptual structure of the property relationship between person and thing and applies it to other legal (and indeed political and social) relationships. Thus performance under a contract can be seen as a res to which the other contracting party (persona) is entitled and this leads to a situation where one can talk in terms of a right arising from a contract.