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Occupiers Liability Notes

GDL Law Notes > GDL Tort Law Notes

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A more recent version of these Occupiers Liability notes – written by Cambridge/Bpp/College Of Law students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our GDL Tort Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Revision: Tort

[OCCUPIERS' LIABILITY]

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Extension or ordinary rules of negligence - although it is largely governed by statute (doesn't replace but works alongside common law)

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Duty to lawful visitors: Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 (OLA 1957)

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Duty to non-visitors i.e. trespassers: Occupiers' Liability Act 1983 (OLA 1984) o

Basis of the Occupiers' Liability Act 1984 (OLA 1984 ) derived from HL decision in British Railway Board v Herrington - introduction of the duty of 'common humanity'

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departure from old position that no duty was owed to trespassers Liability to Lawful Visitors (OLA 1957) "Occupier" (s1(2) OLA 1957)

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Act doesn't define it but makes reference to the common law: any person who has a sufficient degree of control over the premises

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Wheat v Lacon & Co o

Brewery who allowed manager(s) of pub to live there remained in occupation as retained sufficient degree of control - if someone has to live somewhere as a part of their occupation, they will not be an occupier

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(Denning's judgement) - 4 categories of 'occupiers': 1) Where the landlord doesn't live on the property - the tenant is the occupier 2) Where the landlord retains some part of the premises (e.g. common areas) he will be the occupier of those parts 3) Where the landlord issues a license, they remain the occupier (as in Whear) 4) Where the landlord employs an independent contractor, they usually remain the occupier

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Bailey v Armes (CA): Flat roof was above a supermarket and adjacent to the D's flat - neither supermarket nor flat owner deemed to have sufficient control over the roof areas - so neither liable

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Multiple occupiers: no need for exclusive occupation, so can have multiple occupiers

1 Revision: Tort

[OCCUPIERS' LIABILITY]
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Collier v Anglican Water Authority: Both water board and local authority were occupiers - it was the water authority who were liable

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Different occupiers may be responsible for different parts of the premises; or else for different dangers

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Independent contractors: can be occupiers - AMF International Ltd v Magnet Bowling Ltd

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Absent owners: Harris v Birkenhead Corporation - occupants even though had never exercised actual control over the property

"Premises" (s.1(3)(a) OLA 1957)

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Widely defined: s1(3)(a) OLA 1957 and s1(2) OLA 1984 - includes 'any fixed or moveable structure, including any vessel, vehicle or aircraft'

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Wheeler v Copas: premises included a ladder

"Visitor"

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No definition of 'lawful visitors' in the act - so look to the common law:

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Classification of visitor: 1) Express permission / licence: but this can be limited in a number of ways - a) By area: permission may be limited to certain areas - e.g. invitation to enter cinema to watch a film, but no permission to enter other areasThe Calgarth - an invitation to enter a house to use the staircase does not equate to an invitation to slide down the bannister!Pearson v Coleman Bros: Girl was permitted to be on the premises to attend a circus, but had no permission to enter the area where she was mauled by a lion

b) By timeStone v Taffe: punters permitted to be in pub for a lock-in - pub was liable despite the lock-in being illegal - an occupier must make time limit clear to the visitor

c) By purpose:Visitor may become a trespasser if they go beyond the purpose for which they were invited - R v Smith and Jones 2

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