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Paris v Stepney Borough Council

[1951] AC 367

Case summary last updated at 19/01/2020 11:47 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Paris v Stepney Borough Council

P, car mechanic, was blind in one eye. He wasn’t wearing goggles and when working on a car a piece of metal flew off and damaged his other eye. He sued his employer for not providing him with goggles. HL said that even where a disability doesn’t make risk of injury more likely, the fact that it may make the resulting injury more serious is a factor in determining whether the employer should have taken precautions and was negligent. In this case, the potential seriousness of the injury, despite relative improbability, meant that D should have taken precautions i.e. given P goggles. NB the minority approved the reasoning but denied that there was sufficient foreseeability in this case to establish negligence, even if the potential injury was severe.
Lord Norman: “what precautions would the ordinary, reasonable and prudent man take?” This is a function not only of how great is the probability but also of potential seriousness injury.

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