Hampstead Heath Winter Swimming Club and Another v Corporation of London and Another: Admn 26 Apr 2005

Swimmers sought to be able to swim unsupervised in an open pond. The authority which owned the pond on Hampstead Heath wished to refuse permission fearing liability for any injury.
Held: It has always been a principle of the interpretation of statutes that the courts should seek to construe them so as to produce a just and fair law. The courts presume that Parliament intended to legislate justly, fairly and reasonably Adult swimmers with full knowledge of the risks were free to take them. The risks arose from their choice to take them, not from the permission which might be given.


Stanley Burnton J


[2005] EWHC 713 (Admin), Times 19-May-2005, [2005] 1 WLR 2930




Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 3, Hampstead Heath Act 1871 16


England and Wales


CitedTomlinson v Congleton Borough Council and others HL 31-Jul-2003
The claimant dived into a lake, severely injuring himself. The council appealed liability, 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 . .
CitedRegina (on the Application of Pretty) v Director of Public Prosecutions and Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 29-Nov-2001
The applicant was terminally ill, and entirely dependent upon her husband for care. She foresaw a time when she would wish to take her own life, but would not be able to do so without the active assistance of her husband. She sought a proleptic . .
CitedRegina v British Steel Plc CACD 31-Dec-1994
British Steel employed two sub-contractors to work in moving a steel tower under their supervision. One platform fell on one of the sub-contractors, killing him. British Steel claimed they had delegated their responsibilities under the Act, and were . .
CitedDickenson v Fletcher 1873
A penal statute should receive a strict or restrictive interpretation. Brett J said: ‘Those who contend that a penalty may be inflicted must show that the words of the Act distinctly enact that it shall be incurred under the present circumstances. . .
CitedFrancis v Yiewsley and West Drayton Urban District Council 1958
The claimant was said to have failed to comply with an enforcement notice.
Held: A person prosecuted for failure to discontinue a use in accordance with an enforcement notice could challenge the validity of the notice before the criminal court . .
CitedRegina v Board of Trustees of the Science Museum CA 26-May-1993
The appellants were convicted of failing to conduct their undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, persons not in their employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety. One of their buildings . .
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 . .
CitedRatcliff v McConnell and Jones CA 30-Nov-1998
The claimant, a nineteen year old student climbed into a college property in the early hours of the morning, and then took a running dive into the shallow end of a swimming pool, suffering severe injuries. He was accompanied by friends and had been . .
CitedDarby v National Trust CA 29-Jan-2001
The claimant’s husband drowned swimming in a pond on the National Trust estate at Hardwick Hall. Miss Rebecca Kirkwood, the Water and Leisure Safety Consultant to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, gave uncontradicted evidence, which . .
CitedWeld-Blundell v Stephens HL 1920
A physical cause may be irrelevant as a matter of law. The law is concerned not with causation, but with responsibility. Lord Sumner said: ‘more than half of human kind are tale-bearers by nature’.
Where a legal wrong was committed without loss . .
CitedDonoghue v Folkestone Properties Limited CA 27-Feb-2003
The claimant had decided to go for a midnight swim, but was injured diving and hitting a submerged bed. The landowner appealed a finding that it was 25% liable. The claimant asserted that the defendant knew that swimmers were common.
Held: The . .
CitedRegina v Associated Octel Ltd CACD 3-Aug-1994
The company was said to have failed in its duties under section 3(1) of the 1974 Act.
Held: The maintenance and cleaning of a company’s premises can be part of its undertaking, for which its managers are criminally responsible, even if outside . .
CitedM’Lean v Bell 1932
The House considered liability in negligence after a motor accident.
Lord Wright said: ‘In one sense, but for the negligence of the pursuer (if she was negligent) in attempting to cross the road, she would not have been struck, and as a . .
CitedAustin Rover Group Ltd v Her Majesty’s Inspector of Factories HL 1990
The relevant factors in the phrase the words ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ are the foreseeable risk of injury and the cost of the preventive measures. ‘Sections 2 and 3 impose duties in relation to safety on a single person, whether an . .
CitedNorris v W Moss and Sons Ltd CA 1954
The employer had erected scaffolding in a way which infringed the Regulations.
Held: He was not to be held liable to his employee who had noticed the defect and set about remedying it negligently and was injured as a result. The breach of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Local Government, Health and Safety, Personal Injury

Updated: 27 April 2022; Ref: scu.224387