Michael 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 in hospital he had sustained permanent brain damage which such treatment would have prevented.
Held: A body which had responsibility for licensing and setting conditions for the boxing matches was liable in negligence when, having assumed responsibility for the boxer’s medical care, the standards it set were inadequate. The setting of rules could be akin to the giving of advice and thus had an indirect influence on the occurrence of the injury. Had the Board said nothing, it might not be liable, but once it gave advice by setting rules, it came to be responsible. If it had in place the appropriate protocols for provision of medical care, the claimant’s injuries would not have been so severe. ‘It seems to me that the authorities support a principle that, where A places himself in a relationship to B in which B’s physical safety becomes dependant upon the acts and omissions of A, A’s conduct can suffice to impose on A a duty to exercise reasonable care for B’s safety.’ and ‘Had the board simply given advice to all involved in professional boxing as to appropriate medical precautions, it would be strongly arguable that there was insufficient proximity between the board and individual boxers to give rise to a duty of care. The board, however, went far beyond this. It made provision in its rules for the medical precautions to be employed and made compliance with these rules mandatory.’

Lord Phillips MR
Gazette 22-Mar-2001, Times 02-Feb-2001, [2000] EWCA Civ 2116, [2001] QB 1134, [2001] PIQR 16
Bailii, Bailii
England and Wales
ConsideredPerrett 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 . .
Appeal fromWatson v British Board of Boxing Control QBD 12-Oct-1999
A governing body of a sport, had a duty to insist on arrangements for sporting events, held under its aegis, to ensure proper access to medical aid. There was no contract between the parties, but boxers had to fight under the Board’s rules. A . .
AppliedBarrett 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 . .

Cited by:
CitedBinod Sutradhar v Natural Environment Research Council CA 20-Feb-2004
The defendant council had carried out research into a water supply in India in the 1980s. The claimant drank the water, and claimed damages for having consumed arsenic in it.
Held: There is a close link between the tests in law for proximity . .
CitedJane Marianne Sandhar, John Stuart Murray v Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions CA 5-Nov-2004
The claimant’s husband died when his car skidded on hoar frost. She claimed the respondent was liable under the Act and at common law for failing to keep it safe.
Held: The respondent had not assumed a general responsibility to all road users . .
CitedSutradhar v Natural Environment Research Council HL 5-Jul-2006
Preliminary Report of Risk – No Duty of Care
The claimant sought damages after suffering injury after the creation of water supplies which were polluted with arsenic. He said that a report had identified the risks. The defendant said that the report was preliminary only and could not found a . .
CitedCalvert v William Hill Credit Ltd ChD 12-Mar-2008
The claimant said that the defendant bookmakers had been negligent in allowing him to continue betting when they should have known that he was acting under an addiction. The defendant company had a policy for achieving responsible gambling, . .
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 . .
CitedGeary 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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Administrative, Personal Injury, Negligence

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.135634