Case Law and other recent health and safety court cases
Chapter 9 of our publication Managing Visitor Safety in the Countryside looks in detail at the legislation and court judgements that affect visitor safety and outlines your responsibilities under the law. The book also contains summaries of all the important cases. One example, the Brereton Heath Country Park Case, is included here. Otherwise this section of our website does not repeat the cases and information that are in the publication.
The summaries of decisions and court judgements that follow were not included in the book or have been made since it was last published.
- Risks willingly accepted by the visitor
A mountain biker knew what he was doing was inherently risky; his accident was a result of his own misjudgment.
- True accidents do happen
No one was to blame when a horse rider fell.
- Carisbrooke Castle
No nasty surprises! You must warn visitors of hidden dangers.
- Wicklow Way Boardwalk Fall
This important Irish High Court Judgement confirmed our guiding principle that the standard of care can be different in more remote locations.
- Fall on beach access ramp
An Irish High Court judgement where the recreational user was unable to demonstrate that the defendant acted with “reckless disregard” as set out in section 4 of the Occupiers Liability Act 1995.
- Wicklow National Park, Glendalough fall
A case that shows you do not need to guard recreation users against all conceivable dangers on your land.
- Quin Abbey staircase fall
An important Irish High Court case that helps to define the duty of care owed to recreational users of historic sites and monuments.
- Beddington Park, Sutton
The risk of harm crossing an ornamental bridge with low parapets was slight, and obvious. The seriousness of the accident could not be equated with there being a serious risk of it occurring in the first place.
- ‘No Brains’ Downhill Mountain Bike Claim Delamere Forest
This is an important judgement affecting anyone who has extreme mountain biking on their property.
- Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
This is an interesting judgement where the park authority successfully defended a claim, at common law and under the Occupier’s Liability (Scotland) Act 1960, following a fall on one of their paths.
- Belvedere House, Ireland
The standard of duty owed to visitors under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1995 is to take reasonable care and no more.
- Ireland - Supreme Court Judgement
A land-owner does not need to put up signs to warn of an obvious danger. This decision is important in helping to define the duty of care in Ireland required by the Occupiers’ Liability Act, 1995.
- Tree safety management – civil law judgements
If you manage trees in public places you must have a carefully considered system in place for inspection, remedial work and record keeping.
- Rother Valley Country Park – decision not to prosecute
Following the conclusion of the inquest into the death of a young girl killed whilst sledging in a country park, HSE and police decided to take no further action.
- Manchester Hole – HSE prosecution
Unsuccessful prosecution of a local authority following a fatal accident to a teenager during a supervised caving expedition by an activity centre.
- Stamford Park – HSE prosecution
Successful prosecution of local authority and day nursery following an accident to child in an urban park.
- Aonach Mor Skiing Case
You do not need to protect against obvious and natural features of the landscape. You can take into account the adverse impact signs would have on natural beauty.
- Brereton Heath Country Park Case
Helps to define your responsibilities to visitors under the Occupiers’ Liability Acts. In particular it considers people’s freedom to choose to participate in hazardous activities.