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Phipps v Rochester

[1955] 1 QB 450

Case summary last updated at 18/01/2020 15:16 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Phipps v Rochester

D tacitly permitted people to enter his land (he knew of it and did not mind) and P, a small child, entered the land and fell in a trench that D had dug for building work, injuring himself. P sued D. Devlin J dismissed P’s claim.
Devlin J: The trench would have been no danger to an adult or large child: only a small child was endangered since he could not have realised how dangerous it was. The general rule is that if a landowner permits the general public to use his land he will have discharged his duty of care if the dangers are obvious to a guardian (of children) or he has given a warning comprehensible to the guardian. The exception is if the landowner knows or ought to know that young children are using his land unaccompanied, in which case he should take steps accordingly. This isn’t the case here. 

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