Law Of Tort Occupiers' Liability And Psychiatric Harms Assignment Problem Question

2253 words - 10 pages

Bobby and Kat have sustained injuries at the storage room of the local supermarket. The storage room was supervised by Mohammed, and that’s where the injuries occurred. Thus, the claimants may be able to make a claim under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1956 if they were lawful visitors, or the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1984 if they were trespassers. A visitor is a person whom the occupier has invited in the premises (express permission), or a person who has a lawful right to be in the premises (implied permission).[footnoteRef:1] A trespasser is a person who goes on the land without an invitation (presence is unknown to the occupier or object to).[footnoteRef:2] [1: John Coke, Law of Tort, 13th edn published 2017, Pearson Education Limited, p. 244] [2: Ibid. p. 252]
A premise is defined as ‘any fixed or moveable structure, including any vessel, vehicle or aircraft’.[footnoteRef:3] Mohammed is a worker at the local supermarket and was the one in charge of the storage room where the two children got injured. This may suggest that he had a ‘sufficient degree of control over premises’ to be considered the occupier even if he is not the owner of the premises[footnoteRef:4], however we might need to take into consideration that the owner might also be occupier as he runs the supermarket. The person in charge of the premises has a duty of care towards visitors under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1956.[footnoteRef:5] In order to work out the degree of liability held by the occupier, it needs to be established whether the claimants were lawful visitors or trespassers. [3: Jolley v Sutton [2000] 1 WLR 1082] [4: Wheat v E Lacon & Co Ltd [1966] AC 522] [5: OLA 1957 (s 2(2))]
It is controversial whether Bobby is a visitor or a trespasser. According to the scenario, Bobby waked into a storage room to look for his sister and instead of using the stairs, he slid down the bannisters and consequently broke his nose. The first thing to consider is whether Bobby had the right to be in the storage room in the first place. According to The Calgarth[footnoteRef:6] the occupier may place limitations to a visitor on the permission to enter. A person who is allowed to enter one part of the house will become a trespasser if they enter another part. Sutton LJ stated that ‘when you invite a person into your house to use the stairs you do not invite them to slide down the banisters’ which means that although Bobby had an implied permission[footnoteRef:7] to be in the supermarket, he might not have been permitted entrance in the storage room which might make him a trespasser. The defence might support this argument by pointing out that the door was clearly marked, “No Entry – Staff Only”. According to section 2(4) OLA 1957 the defendant’s liability depends on whether he provided sufficient warning to enable visitors to be reasonably safe from a potential danger. Although the warning ‘is not to be treated without more as absolving the occupier f...


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