Exclusion Clause

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Robert and his wife, Lucy attended their first dance class at a local Salsa dance class. In the event, Paul, the dance instructor and owner of the club falls over and knocked Robert to the ground. As a result, Robert’s arm is broken and his Rolex watch is damaged beyond repair. In addition to that, Lucy suffered a loss in her stolen coat.

Robert and Lucy have both suffered loss at a local Salsa dance class run by Paul. Thus, Paul may face liability under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 considering the fact that Robert and Lucy are both lawful visitors who have registered to attend the dance classes. The injury sustained by Robert at the dance club falls within the definition of premises provided in Section 51 of the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 as the premise includes land and building. Paul, as the dance instructor of the dance club suggests that he is one of the pivotal people running the club. Thus, he should be exercising sufficient control over the premises to be regarded as the occupier: Wheat v. E Lacon & Co Ltd [1966]1. As Per Denning, M.R. quoted: "Wherever a person has a sufficient degree of control over premises that he ought to realise that any failure on his part to use care may result in injury to a person coming lawfully there, then he is an 'occupier' and the person coming lawfully there is his 'visitor'; and the 'occupier' is under a duty to his 'visitor' to use reasonable care." Thus, Paul, as the occupier of the premises owes a general duty under section 2(2) of the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 ‘to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there’. By causing Robert a broken arm and Rolex watch, weather by accident or not, Paul has breached his duty of care and is therefore liable for the injury and damage suffered by Robert.

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