The Court has clarified the test for establishing the cause of an event (e.g. a fire) where there are competing theories.

Whilst each case will turn on its own facts, the Court provided guidance for cases where there was more than one possible cause:

  • The Court is not required to “work through each potential cause, identify the least improbable, and then fix that as the cause…” i.e. it is not a process of elimination, rather


  • The Court is required to stand back and consider whether the claimant has proved its case on causation on the balance of probabilities, i.e. is the cause relied upon by the claimant more likely than not to have been the cause.


The case is Palmer v Nightingale (t/a Andover Pest Control) [2016] EWHC 2800 (TCC).