Dean & Chapter of Rochester Cathedral v Leonard Debell [2016] EWCA Civ 1094

A cathedral appealed against a finding that it was liable for the injury suffered by the respondent. The respondent alleged that he had tripped over a piece of concrete which stuck out from the bottom of a bollard within the cathedral precincts.

HELD: (1) A trial judge must strike a balance between the nature and extent of a risk and the cost of eliminating it when assessing whether a visitor would be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes of the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957. Not all foreseeable risks are sufficiently serious to require an occupier to take steps to eliminate them. The assessment of this seriousness amounts to an exercise of judgement by a trial judge.

(2) The trial judge in this case did not recognise in his judgment that not all foreseeable risks require action to be taken by the occupier. He could not have reached the decision he did if he properly took a practical and realistic approach to the dangers which the cathedral was required to rectify. The piece of concrete was extremely small and could not be said to pose a real danger to pedestrians.

December 15, 2016 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases