Occupiers Liability

Topics: Tort, Tort law, Invitee Pages: 6 (1527 words) Published: February 25, 2013
The occupancy of premises is affected by two statues:
1)The occupier’s liability act 1957. Under this act there is a duty to keep safe and lawful visitors to the premises 2)The occupier’s liability act 1984. Where an occupier may owe a duty to protect trespassers onto the premises.

A lawful visitor has permission to enter premises.
This can be expressed permission of implied.

There are four situations covering implied permissions:
1)If the occupier knows (or should know) that people are repeatedly visiting his land and does nothing about it. Permission may be implied. Lewery v Walker
The defendant’s field was often used as a shortcut. He put a wild horse in a field and it attacked a person. The court said he was a lawful visitor because the defendant knew about the shortcut

2)The doctrine of allurement. This means that a child is a visitor and not a trespasser if he enters land to investigate something dangerous and attractive to children. Jolley v Sutton BC
Where the attraction was an abandoned boat

3)Entry in order to communicate. There is implied permission to walk up the path to the door of the house with the purpose of communicating with the occupiers. Robsen v Hallett There is no implied permission for everyone prohibited by a notice on the gate. If asked to leave the person is still a visitor if asked to leave within a reasonable time by a reasonable route. 4)Power of entry by stator authority. Examples

e.g. postman and fireman.
A trespasser is someone who enters without invitation and their presence is unknown by the occupier and if known is in subject to in a practical way such as a padlock or a verbal warning. Trespass is a strict liability tort so the nature is irrelevant. Sometimes a lawful visitor can become a trespasser:

Limit as to area
e.g. visiting a stately home and going through a door marked authorized person’s only if he limit is unclear the court will give the claimant the benefit of the doubt. Limit as to time
A person who stays longer than they should would become a trespasser e.g. staying in school until 6pm. Limit as to purpose
A visitor invited in for a particular purpose but does something different risks becoming a trespasser. There is a famous quote from a case called the Calgarth” when you invite a person into your house to use the staircase you do not invite him to slide down the banisters”. Tomlinson v Congleton Borough Council a man visited a country park and divided into the lake ignoring no swimming signs at that point he became a trespasser. Occupier’s liability Act 1957

A claim under this act is very similar for negligence so there must be: 1.A duty of care
2.A breach of duty
3.Damages under s2(1)
The duty
An occupier of premises owes a duty of care to all his lawful visitors. Duty of care
s2(2) the duty is to take such care in all the circumstances of the case, as is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe. In using the premises for the purpose for which he’s invited. Occupier

The act does not define an occupier but cases have shown an occupier is any person who controls the relevant part of the premises. There can be more than one occupier e.g. in the case of Wheat v Lacon the court said the manager of the pub and the brewery where occupiers. Discharging the duty

The standard of care is the same as negligence so cases like Bolton v Stone, Paris v Stephney Borough Council, Whot v Heartfordshire Council, Latimar v AEC. Warnings
This is to keep the visitor safe and off the premises s2(4)(a) says the occupier can carry out his duty by providing reasonable warnings e.g. locks, fences or signs. Woolins v British Celanese a warning sign about a dangerous roof was behind a door not easily visible so the defendant was liable.

There are two special circumstances specified by the act:
2.Specialist visitors
Under s2(3)(a) an occupier must expect...
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