Brian James Lear v (1) Hickstead Ltd (2) WH Security Ltd [2016] EWHC 528 (QB)

A Claimant’s negligence claim against the owner of a showground and the contractor managing parking at horse shows was not made out. The Claimant’s injuries sustained while lowering the ramp on his horsebox were not attributable to any default by either Defendant.

The claimant brought a claim under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and in negligence against the first defendant and a claim in negligence alone against the second defendant. C claimed that D’s failures in managing parking had caused someone to manually lift his horsebox ramp. As a result, when he returned to his horsebox and lowered it using the hydraulic controls, it fell on his head causing him injury. C claimed the accident occurred because the horseboxes were parked too close to one another and another horsebox driver had had to manually lift the ramp to get out.

It was held that a duty of care at common law would be established if it was reasonably foreseeable that personal injury would be suffered as a result of the raising or lowering of horsebox ramps belonging to another. The evidence clearly demonstrated that it was reasonably foreseeable that people might have to raise or lower other people’s horsebox ramps. It was also reasonably foreseeable that doing so might cause personal injury. However, in order to establish a breach of the duty of care, the claimant had to show that his horsebox created an obstruction, that that was the reason why whoever lifted it did so and that the obstruction was the result of a breach of duty on the part of D1 and/or D2. The claim failed, as it could not be said that D1 or D2 had done anything which resulted in an obstruction.

Even if there had been an obstruction, it would not have followed that liability would have been established. The mere presence of an obstruction would not amount to a breach of duty provided that there was a reasonable system in place which was designed to prevent obstructions. The system operated by D2 was entirely reasonable. Given the conclusion that there was no breach of duty by D2, the independent contractor employed by D1 to manage parking at the horse show, it had to follow that D1 could be under no liability to the claimant in respect of what D2 did in relation to parking management.

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