Katie Cruz v Chief Constable of Lancashire & Anor [2016] EWCA Civ 402

The Claimant was escorting a drunk prisoner to a cell. Unusually, the cell door had not been left fully open and was sticking out into the corridor. As the Claimant tried to manoeuvre around the door, the prisoner fell suddenly to the ground, pulling the Claimant down with her. The Claimant sustained significant injury to her arm. The Claimant argued that, because the cell door had not been left fully open, the corridor was not maintained in an efficient state (Reg.5). The judge found that the partially open door presented no foreseeable risk of injury. As such, there was no breach of Reg.5. The Claimant argued that the judge had failed to give appropriate weight to evidence that it was usual practice to leave the doors of empty cells fully open so as reduce the risk of them creating a hazard or blocking the corridor.

HELD: The partially open cell door had to present a foreseeable risk of injury before there could be a breach of Reg. 5. The risk had to be real or material, though not necessarily probable. The evidence was that the risk of injury to a drunk and disorderly prisoner was increased by delay in getting them into a cell (i.e. because the door was not fully open). However, under Reg.5, the foreseeable injury had to be an injury to a worker, not a visitor. The partially open door had not been identified as a potential source of injury to custody officers. There was no evidence of similar previous incidents. The judge was entitled to conclude that the door did not present a real risk of injury to the Claimant and above that inevitably associated with her job. The judge’s decision was within the ambit of reasonable decision-making

May 28, 2016 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases