Summary of Recent Cases – Substantive Law


Owners Of Pub Not Liable To A Claimant Sliding Down Bannisters Who Had Voluntarily Assumed Inherent Risk Of Injury

Geary v, JD Whetherspoon Plc, QBD, 14/06/11

Coulson J dismissed the claimant’s claim for damages for personal injury. The claimant had attempted to slide down a set of banisters but fell backwards onto the marble floor below, thereby sustaining a spinal fracture resulting in tetraplegia. On the evidence, it was held that the claimant had accepted the obvious and inherent risk of injury in sliding down the banisters. Coulson J held that as she had voluntarily assumed such risk, this was fatal to her claim. Coulson J further held that that the defendant was not under any duty to protect or prevent her from voluntarily assuming such risk and on that basis, the claim would also fail.

Manhole Cover Which Protruded 15mm Not A Dangerous Defect For Purposes Of Section 41 of Highways Act 1980

Kent County Council v, Lawrence, QBD, 22/06/11

Eady J allowed the appellant highway authority’s appeal against a decision that it had breached its statutory duty to maintain the highway in respect of a manhole cover which protruded some 15mm above the pavement. Eady held that in determining whether a protrusion was dangerous for the purposes of section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, a judgment had to be made by the court and which judgment should, in general terms, have some regard to financial and other practical constraints on the relevant highway authority. On the evidence, Eady J concluded that a protrusion of 15mm was not such that a reasonable person would regard as presenting a real source of danger. To the extent that the judge had taken into account views of witnesses as to what they considered dangerous, these were irrelevant considerations.

No Breach Of Duty By Occupier To Wheelchair User Where Wheelchair Ramp Provided And Steps Visible

Clark v, Bourne Leisure Limited, CA, 30/06/11

The Court of Appeal allowed the appellant company’s appeal against a decision that its premises were not reasonably safe for a wheelchair user. The claimant visitor, who had previously used a ramp to transcend different levels within a bar area within the premises, had later mistakenly gone down a set of steps on the other side of the bar area, thereby tipping her wheelchair and causing her to fall out and sustain personal injuries. The Court of Appeal substituted its own view on the issue of safety and held that the premises were reasonably safe for wheelchair users as there was a ramp for wheelchair use. The Court of Appeal further held that whilst the steps were not safe for wheelchair use, they were easily visible and as such, would have been avoided by any wheelchair user taking reasonable care for their own safety.

July 16, 2011 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases