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Occupiers Liability Notes

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Occupiers' Liability Notes. Occupiers Liability. Who is an Occupier?


Occupiers Liability Act 1957 - 1(2) - people will be treated as occupier and invitee as at common law.


Wheat (1966) - D1 lived in D2's property under a contract allowing them to manage it as a pub but saying they were not tenants. C was a tenant of D1 and claimed for husband's death after he fell due to the stairs having no light or rail. Lord Denning - occupier = persons who have a sufficient degree of control over premises. The duty is to all lawful visitors to take reasonable care as is required to prevent injury when D's control is such that he ought to realise failure to do so may result in injury. More than one occupier can exist. The degree of control decides the extent of the duty. Lord Morris - both are occupiers and both owe duty, however duty varies. If C were injured by D1's furnishings D2 might escape but if it was due to D2's failure to maintain staircase's structural integrity then D1 might escape.

Who is a visitor?


1957 Act - 1(4) - Countryside Act and National Parks Act don't make a visitor. 5(1) - where contract gives C a right to enter premises the duty D owes in respect of dangers on premises is common law duty where it is due to an implied term. 5(2) - applies to fixed + movable structures as well as land.


Ferguson (1987) - D contracted for demolition with C. In breach C subcontracted and they employed unsafe system causing injury to X, sub-contractor's employee. X sued all of them. Lord Keith - 2(4)(b) means occupier not liable for unsafe systems of a sub-contractor unless he didn't take reasonable steps to satisfy self of competence. Lord Goff - fact that occupier may know or suspect contractor to be using unsafe system is not enough for liability in Act or common law for injury to employee even if effect of danger is to render property itself unsafe. Court - Being a visitor for one D doesn't auto mean you are for all. Facts must support inference that D permitted entry, not just tolerated it. The inference is what

counts, so if it is inferred that he permits entry it doesn't matter that contract says no sub-contractors.


McGeown (1995) - C suffered injuries when he tripped on a hole in a public footpath. Court - person using public footpath does so by right and so cannot be a visitor of the owner. Lord Browne-Wilkinson - but existence of a right of way not always incompatible with a duty arising to a visitor.

Liability to Visitors:


1957 Act - 1(1) - This will replace common law on the duty of an occupier to a visitor. 1(3) - Rules as common law apply to fixed or moveable structures and damage to property not of the visitors.

2(1) - Occupier owes duty of care to all visitors unless agreed otherwise. 2(2) - Duty is to take care as is reasonable in all circs to see visitor is reasonably safe in using premises for purpose invited to. 2(3) - circs include degree of care reasonably expected of visitor(age, job, etc.). 2(4) - in judging discharge of duty regard is to be had to all circs. 2(5) - No obligation to visitor for voluntarily taken risks. 2(6) - persons entering on a right in law treated as having permission.

3(1) - D can't restrict duty to 3rd party who have right to enter under contract, by contract. Duty can be extended by contract. 3(2) - this section won't result in D being liable to strangers to contract for dangers due to faulty execution of work by others than himself/employees if he has taken reasonable care. 3(3) - 'strangers to contract' are people not entitled to benefit as a party. 3(4) - Tenancy is a contract when it binds D to allow 3rd party in.


Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 - 1(1) - negligence refers to a breach of an obligation to take care in the contract, in common law or in 1957 Act.

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