Makepeace v Evans Brothers (Reading) (A Firm) and Another: CA 23 May 2000

Scaffolding is an ordinary piece of equipment on a building site. As a general rule an occupier of a building did not owe a duty of care for the safety of employees of its independent contractor. However, there may be occasions when such a duty of care might arise. It would be an unwarranted extension of the nursemaid school of negligence to hold a main contractor liable to the employee of a sub-contractor for failing to verify his training in the use of scaffolding on a building site. The main contractor’s duties arose in favour of visitors to the site in respect of the condition of the site itself. Such judgements are not always easy or clear, since building sites and scaffolding are inherently dangerous places. Accordingly a main contractor was not liable in negligence nor under the Act where one contractor was injured as a result of using scaffolding erected by another sub-contractor. The person who erected the scaffolding was liable, but not in this case the site’s main contractor.


Mantell LJ


Times 13-Jun-2000, Gazette 08-Jun-2000, [2000] EWCA Civ 171, [2000] BLR 287




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedEH Humphries (Norton) Ltd. Thistle Hotels Plc v Fire Alarm Fabrication Services Ltd CA 10-Nov-2006
The sub-contractor’s workman fell through a skylight and died. His employers having settled, obtained contribution orders from the main contractors and building owners who each now appealed.
Held: Whether main contractors were also liable to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Negligence, Health and Safety, Personal Injury

Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.83341