This post has been contributed by Professor Patricia Tuitt, Module Convenor for Tort law , and Part 1 of two posts.
Read here later part 2 to see what the judges made of these cases.
Occupiers’ Liability can be a tricky subject because, like so many areas of law, it is nuanced. As an examiner, I often encounter cases of students who significantly compromise their marks to answers to problem scenarios occurring on premises by failing to distinguish between dangers arising from activities on premises and dangers arising from the state of the premises. In relation to the former, liability (if it is to be found) must lie within ordinary common law principles of negligence. It is only in relation to the latter that the Occupiers’ Liability Acts (OLAs) are engaged.
Let’s start at the beginning…
Consider why the Occupiers’ Liability Acts are frequently referred to in short hand as forming part of the law relating to dangerously defective premises; if not to emphasise how important it is to first identify an objectively dangerous feature of the premises in question?
It’s not just you…
Take heart from the knowledge that senior judges also grapple with the difficulties of finding an objectively dangerous state of premises, as can be seen in two cases heard as recently as July of this year:
- Edwards v London Borough of Sutton (2016) EWCA Civ 1005
- G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd v Manley (2016) EWCH 2355 (QB