Occupiers Liability Act 1984 ( (To discharge this duty the D must take…
Occupiers Liability Act 1984
Deals with the liability of the occupier of premises to unlawful visitors - i..e trespassers
The 1984 Act defines occupiers and premises in the same way as the 1957 Act.
Before the 1984 Act under the common law trespassers were not entitled to compensation if they were injuries on the occupiers premises unless they were acting maliciously or recklessly.
in relation to child trespassers who held that occupiers had a ‘common duty of humanity’ but only if they knew of the danger and that trespass was likely. The 1984 Act was then passed to provide certainty regarding when occupiers owed a duty of care to trespassers on their premises.
Under the 1984 Act an occupier owes a duty to “persons other than his visitors” to take such care as is “reasonable in all the circumstances to see that that they do not suffer injury on the premises”.
Trespassers are any person who has entered without invitation; or whose presence is either unknown to the occupier or known but the occupier has objected in a practical way either by locking a gate or by giving a verbal warning.
Trespass is a strict liability tort, so a person can be a trespasser without being aware that they are a trespasser.
A person can also become a trespasser if they exceed the limits of permission.
If a visitor exceeds the permission granted or engages in a different activity to the one they have permission for they can become a trespasser.
For the occupier to owe a trespasser a duty of care certain conditions must be met:
The danger must come from the dangerous state of the premises or from things done or omitted to be done on them not from the claimant’s own activities.
an occupier will only owe a duty in respect of a danger on his premises is (a) he knows of the danger or has reasonable grounds to believe it exists and (b) he knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that someone is in the vicinity of the danger or may come into the vicinity of it.
So we know that the claim must arise from the state of the premises or things done or omitted to be done on them under s.1(1)(a) and an occupier only owes a duty if all 3 conditioins set in s.1(3)(a - c) are met.
To discharge this duty the D must take reasonable care in the circumstances. Case law suggests that the courts will often decide this issue in favour of the D as there is usually a limit as to what the reasonable person would do to protect against someone who shouldn’t be there. The judge will consider a range of factors including:
Likelihood of trespass
The seriousness of the injury
The cost and practicality of precautions
The likely age of any trespasser
The visibility and attractiveness of the danger.
The relative obviousness of the danger
Common sense; and The fact that an occupier should not have to guard against the conduct of an irresponsible minority