PREMISES AND OCCUPIERS

Liability is principally for breach of a common duty of care under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957, but may also be in general common law negligence, and occasionally in contract (e.g. for breach of a contractual licence where an express or implied term regulates the safety of the premises). It may also be in respect of the Occupier’s Liability Act 1984, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and/or the Defective Premises Act 1972. When drafting Particulars in respect of the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 case (a person who is on the land lawfully having received a direct or implied invitation or someone who is not trespassing), it is only necessary to set out that the claimant was a visitor and then to add to the allegation of negligence an allegation of breach of statutory duty, namely s.2 of the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957. The Occupier’s Liability Act 1984 is of relevance only to injured persons who are not visitors, for example as in 81-W28.

When an accident occurs on school premises, reference may be made to the Education (Schools Premises) Regulations 1999.

Occupational/Employer’s Liability

The principal heads of claim are in the tort of negligence (where Wilsons & Clyde Coal v English [1938] A.C. 57 establishes a duty on an employer at common law to take reasonable care for the health and safety of his employees, consisting of four alternative (they are not mutually exclusive, and thus may also co-exist) elements: a duty to provide safe premises; a duty to provide safe plant and equipment; a duty to provide safe and competent fellow employees; and a duty to provide a safe system of work). Usually, contractual duties co-exist. (Matthews v Kuwait Bechtel [1959] 2 Q.B. 57, CA.).