Cooke v Midland Great Western Railway of Ireland: HL 1909

Lord Atkinson said: ‘The duty the owner of premises owes to the persons to whom he gives permission to enter upon them must . . be measured, by his knowledge, actual or imputed, of the habits, capacities and propensities of those persons.’ and ‘The authorities from Lynch v Nurdin [1841] EngR 52; (1841) 1 QB 29 downwards establish, it would appear to me, first, that every person must be taken to know that young children and boys are of a very inquisitive and frequently mischievous disposition, and are likely to meddle with whatever happens to come within their reach; secondly, that public streets, roads and public places may not unlikely be frequented by children of tender years and boys of this character.’


Lord Atkinson


[1909] AC 229 HL(I), [1908-10] All ER 16


England and Wales


CitedLynch v Nurdin 1841
The defendant’s servant left his cart and horse on a street where children were playing. A child climbed on the wheel of the cart, other children disturbed the horse, and the child was injured.
Held: The judge had correctly left it to the jury . .

Cited by:

CitedBritish Railways Board v Herrington HL 16-Feb-1972
Land-owner’s Possible Duty to Trespassers
The plaintiff, a child had gone through a fence onto the railway line, and been badly injured. The Board knew of the broken fence, but argued that they owed no duty to a trespasser.
Held: Whilst a land-owner owes no general duty of care to a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Ireland, Negligence, Children

Updated: 12 May 2022; Ref: scu.180941