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Billings v Riden [1958] AC 240

By Oxbridge Law TeamUpdated 04/01/2024 07:04

Judgement for the case Billings v Riden

  • Defendant was doing work to the front of a house, next door to one occupied by X, blocking the main entrance to X’s house, so that they only left a dangerous alternative route.

  • Plaintiff, a visitor, was injured while using this dangerous alternative route, and HL allowed her claim of negligence against Defendant (minus contributory negligence since she had declined help on the route). 

Lord Somervell

  • Owed a duty to all who might be expected lawfully to visit the house to take reasonable care to ensure that they were not exposed to danger.

  • Where Plaintiff was aware of the danger but, in all the circumstances, a reasonable person would have risked incurring it, the contractors were not absolved from liability either by giving a warning or by reliance on the respondent's knowledge.

  • In considering what a reasonable person would realize or would do in a particular situation, “reasonable” does not necessarily equal what the majority of people would have done. 

Lord Cohen (others agree)

  • It is irrelevant that Defendant would not have had a right to put up warnings/fencing along the dangerous route in X’s property since it was they who caused the initial danger by blocking the main entrance. 

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Tort Law Notes
1,070 total pages
847 purchased

Tort Law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridge. ...