Brown v Nelson and others: 1971

A pupil at an approved school went on an Outward Bound course including riding on a cable and pulley slung between two trees. From the cable hung a knotted rope. When the pupil got onto the rope the cable snapped, and he fell with it. He suffered serious injuries from which some years later he died. The Outward Bound confidence course was run by parties independent of the school.
Held: The claim was dismissed against the school. Nield J said: ‘What duty did the school authorities owe to the deceased? They were not the occupiers of the site or of the apparatus. They had, in my view, a general duty to take reasonable steps for the safety of those under their charge and use such care as would be exercised by a reasonably careful parent. Counsel tell me that there is no authority covering the situation where a school makes use of someone else’s equipment at premises other than the school premises. In my judgment, where a school must take their pupils to other premises, they discharge their duty of care if they know the premises and if the premises are apparently safe, and if they know that the premises are staffed by competent and careful persons. They further discharge their duty if they permit their pupils there to use equipment which is apparently safe and is under the control of competent and careful persons who supervise the use of such equipment. They do not in such circumstances have an obligation themselves to make an inspection.’


Nield J


[1971] LGR 20

Cited by:

CitedWoodland v The Swimming Teachers’ Association and Others QBD 17-Oct-2011
The court was asked as to the vicarious or other liability of a school where a pupil suffered injury at a swimming lesson with a non-employee during school time, and in particular whether it had a non-delegable duty to ensure the welfare of children . .
CitedWoodland v Essex County Council CA 9-Mar-2012
The claimant had been injured in a swimming pool during a lesson. The lesson was conducted by outside independent contractors. The claimant appealed against a finding that his argument that they had a non-delegable duty of care was bound to fail. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Negligence

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.445619