Geary v JD Wetherspoon Plc: QBD 14 Jun 2011

The claimant, attempting to slide down the banisters at the defendants’ premises, fell 4 metres suffering severe injury. She claimed in negligence and occupiers’ liability. The local council had waived a requirement that the balustrade meet the minimum height. The defendant had been told that it would neither be allowed to increase its height nor to place studs in it to discourage such actions. There had been previous incidents but no injuries. The defendant said that the claimant had voluntarily taken an obvious risk. The claimant said that this could not be a defence but went only as to contributory negligence.
Held: The claimant’s admissions as to her awareness of the risk were fatal to her claim: ‘The claimant freely chose to do something which she knew to be dangerous. Because of the conversations about ‘Mary Poppins’, there was even a degree of pre-planning. She knew that sliding down the banisters was not permitted, but she chose to do it anyway. She was therefore the author of her own misfortune. The defendant owed no duty to protect her from such an obvious and inherent risk. She made a genuine and informed choice and the risk that she chose to run materialised with tragic consequences.’

Coulson J
[2011] EWHC 1506 (QB)
Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 2(5), Occupiers’ Liability Act 1984 1(6), Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
England and Wales
CitedThe Carlgarth 1927
Scrutton LJ said: ‘When you invite a person into your house to use the staircase, you do not invite him to slide down the banisters, you invite him to use the staircase in the ordinary way in which it is used.’ and ‘Another distinction is that in a . .
CitedKeown v Coventry Healthcare NHS Trust CA 2-Feb-2006
The claimant a young boy fell from a fire escape on the defendant’s building. He suffered brain damage and in later life was convicted of sexual offences.
Held: His claim failed: ‘there was no suggestion that the fire escape was fragile or had . .
CitedTomlinson v Congleton Borough Council and others HL 31-Jul-2003
The claimant dived into a lake, severely injuring himself. The council appealed, arguing that it owed him no duty of care under the Act since he was a trespasser. It had placed warning signs to deter swimmers.
Held: The council’s appeal . .
CitedEvans v Kosmar Villa Holidays Plc CA 23-Oct-2007
The claimant sought damages from the tour operator after he suffered a head injury resulting in incomplete tetraplegia after diving into a shallow swimming pool in the early hours of the morning in a resort in Greece while on a tour run by the . .
CitedBarrett v Ministry of Defence CA 3-Jan-1995
The deceased was an off-duty naval airman. The claim was based upon the alleged negligent failure of the defendant to enforce disciplinary regulations against drunkenness so as to protect the deceased against his own known proclivity for alcohol . .
CitedFowles v Bedfordshire County Council CA 22-May-1995
The claimant had received some instruction as to the use of gymnastic mats, but the instruction from the defendants was inadequate and had not made him aware of the dangers. Subsequently, when the claimant used the mats with a friend on a subsequent . .
CitedMinistry of Defence v Radclyffe CA 30-Jun-2009
The court held the appellant Ministry liable for a soldier’s injuries incurred when jumping from a high bridge. A senior officer had earlier ‘assumed responsibility to prevent the junior soldiers from taking undue risks of which he was or ought to . .
CitedPerrett v Collins, Underwood PFA (Ulair) Limited (T/a Popular Flying Association) CA 22-May-1998
The plaintiff was a passenger in an aircraft which crashed, and there was a preliminary issue as to the liability to him of those who certified that the aircraft was fit to fly. The propeller was mismatched to the gearbox.
Held: A certifying . .
CitedMitchell and Another v Glasgow City Council HL 18-Feb-2009
(Scotland) The pursuers were the widow and daughter of a tenant of the respondent who had been violently killed by his neighbour. They said that the respondent, knowing of the neighbour’s violent behaviours had a duty of care to the deceased and . .
CitedJolley v Sutton London Borough Council HL 24-May-2000
An abandoned boat had been left on its land and not removed by the council. Children tried to repair it, jacked it up, and a child was injured when it fell. It was argued for the boy, who now appealed dismissal of his claim by the Court of Appeal, . .
CitedMichael Alexander Watson v British Boxing Board of Control Ltd, World Boxing Organisation Incorporated CA 19-Dec-2000
The claimant was seriously injured in a professional boxing match governed by rules established by the defendant’s rules. Ringside medical facilities were available, but did not provide immediate resuscitation. By the time he received resuscitation . .
CitedPortsmouth Youth Activities Committee (A Charity) v Poppleton CA 12-Jun-2008
The claimant was injured climbing without ropes (‘bouldering’) at defendant’s activity centre. The defendant appealed against a finding of 25% responsibility in having failed to warn climbers that the existence of thick foam would not remove all . .
CitedRichard Vowles v David Evans, and The Welsh Rugby Union Limited CA 11-Mar-2003
The claimant had been injured in a rugby match, and had recovered damages from the referee, who now appealed.
Held: The relationship was proximate, and the injury reasonably forseeable, and if the referee failed to exercise reasonable care, . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Land, Negligence

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.440886