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Roles v Nathan

[1963] 1 WLR 1117

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

Judgement for the case Roles v Nathan

P’s husband, X, was a chimney sweep called to clean D’s chimney. An expert on site warned the sweep not to continue work until certain safety precautions had been taken. X ignored this and died. CA denied P a claim under the 1957 Act. 
Lord Denning MR: He states the definition of the “common duty of care” in s.2(2) and the fact that, under s.2(3), the danger here is caused in the exercise of X’s calling and is “ordinarily incidental” to the purpose of the visit and therefore, within s.2(3) D is entitled to reasonably expect that X will appreciate and guard against the danger (they were warned about it). Therefore no duty of care, regarding the danger concerned with the chimney, was owed. This would not be the case if the danger was not “ordinarily incidental” e.g. if the sweeps had fallen through a faulty stair case. Given that X was warned about the danger, it was for him to alleviate himself of the danger, not for D. EVEN if there had been a duty of care the claim would have failed, since, within s.2(4) the warning given, alone, was enough to render the visitor (X) “reasonably safe”.

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