Mullin v Richards and Birmingham City Council: CA 6 Nov 1997

Two 15 year old schoolfriends were playing with rulers when one shattered and a fragment injured the eye of the other. She claimed negligence in the school. She appealed a finding that she was herself fifty per cent responsible.
Held: Although the judge had been correct as to the standard of care expected of a child of 15 there had been no evidence that a ruler could be expected to shatter, and nor therefore that an injury of this type was forseeable. The test is whether an ordinarily prudent and reasonable schoolchild in that situation would have realised that his actions gave rise to a risk of injury.

Lady Justice Butler-Sloss, Lord Justice Hutchison, Sir John Vinelott
[1997] EWCA Civ 2662, [1998] 1 All ER 920, [1998] 1 WLR 1304, [1998] PIQR P276
England and Wales
CitedGough v Thorne CA 1966
The court was asked as to the standard of duty of care expected of a child. Salmon LJ said: ‘The question as to whether the Plaintiff can be said to have been guilty of contributory negligence depends on whether any ordinary child of 13 can be . .
CitedHughes v Lord Advocate HL 21-Feb-1963
The defendants had left a manhole uncovered and protected only by a tent and paraffin lamp. A child climbed down the hole. When he came out he kicked over one of the lamps. It fell into the hole and caused an explosion. The child was burned. The . .
CitedBolton v Stone HL 10-May-1951
The plaintiff was injured by a prodigious and unprecedented hit of a cricket ball over a distance of 100 yards. He claimed damages in negligence.
Held: When looking at the duty of care the court should ask whether the risk was not so remote . .
CitedMcHale v Watson 7-Mar-1966
(High Court of Australia) A girl was injured playing tag with her friends at school. A boy threw a sharpened object which bounced off a post and hit her. The level of duty of care owed by a child was questioned: ‘The standard of care being . .

Cited by:
CitedOrchard v Lee CA 3-Apr-2009
The claimant appealed rejection of her claim for personal injuries. She was supervising a school playground, and was injured by a 13 year old child running backwards into her. She claimed against the boy. The judge found it to be mere horseplay.
Negligence, Personal Injury

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.143061