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Occupiers Liability and Duty of Care

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Abhinav Saxena

In English law. codified in statute. and the definition of an "occupier" continue to rely on cases for their meaning. Although the law largely codified the earlier common law the difference between a "visitor" and a "trespasser". which concerns the duty of care owed by those who occupy real property. to people who visit or trespass.. through ownership or lease. occupiers' liability towards visitors is regulated in the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957.Occupiers Liability Occupiers' liability is a field of tort law. It deals with liability that may arise from accidents caused by the defective or dangerous condition of the premises. occupiers' liability to trespassers is provided under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1984. Who is an occupier? . In addition.

secondly. pylons and wires used for the purpose of transmission of electric power or communications or transportation of passengers. the Act and cover not only buildings and open spaces but also any fixed or moveable structure which include any vessel. railway locomotives and railway cars. For example. standards. scaffolding and similar structures erected on land whether affixed to the land or not. there are many types of premises. Some of the examples include firstly. whether or not they are used in conjunction with the supporting land. staging. fourthly. What are Premises? . poles. vehicle or aircraft.

Visitors in Public Parks and other Places of Public Resort. Visitors of the Invitee. Duty to an Invitee e. Duty to an Invitee under contract. Invitation to another’s premises d. Pearson v Coleman Bros d.DUTY OF OCCUPIERS TO THE INVITEES a.K Kumar . Cases: a. Invitee b. g. Pillutla Savitri v G. h. Invitation to a part of premises c. Indermaur v Dames b. Scope of the Occupiers’ Duty to the Invitee f.

In that case.. a person invited by the proprietor of a hotel and injured by the fall of a pane of glass from a door was held not entitled to recover. not to expose him to a concealed danger of which the occupier is aware and the licensee is not aware and cannot be aware by the exercise of reasonable care.Duty Of Occupiers To Licensees Licensees: A licensee is one who has the license or permission of the occupier to enter or remain on his premise. Scope of the Occupier’s Duty to a Licensee . s52 Guest : A friend or relation invited for a social visit is a licensee and not an invitee. So it was held in a case decided nearly a century ago in England. Case: Fairman’s case [1923] Concealed Danger: A concealed danger has been defined to be danger which is not known or obvious to the licensee using reasonable care. Case: Southcote v Stanley (1858) Duty to Licensee: The duty to a licensee is not to lay or set a trap for him. Act: Indian Easement Act 1882.e. i.

is particularly objected to.Duty Of Occupiers To Trespassers Who is a trespasser? A trespasser has been defined as “one who goes upon land without invitation of any sort and whose presence or either unknown to the proprietor or. as we have already seen. A railway company was held not liable to a person travelling without a ticket and injured by a collision. Herrington v British Rly Board [1972] Duty of Occupier to Child Trespasser The degree of care to be shown towards children may be higher than that towards adults in particular circumstances ad this reason. affects the application of the rules in various way. A child may be regarded as an invitee while an adult in similar circumstances may be only a licensee or a trespasser . The occupier has no duty to warn him of existing defects. much less to take precautions for his safety.” Duty to a trespasser: There is no duty of an occupier to ensure that no trespasser enters his land or to survey his land to discover the existing dangers of which he is not aware since the trespasser trespasses at his peril. if known.

. The Occupiers’' Liability Act 1984 did this. It declares that the rules enacted shall replace the rules of the common law to regulate the duty of an occupier of premises to his visitors in respect of dangers due to the state of the premises or to things done or omitted to done on them.Occupiers Liability Act 1957 The act came into fore in the UK on 1 January 1958. Occupiers Liability Act 1984 A Royal Commission report in 1976 concluded that a parallel statutory provision to that provided by the 1957 Act was needed to clarify the liability position towards trespassers.

Duty of a Lessor to a Lessee in Respect of Defects Existing at the time of the Lease 2.Duty of Care Duty of Owners of Land or Building It entails duties of a lessor or vendor to this lessee or vendee as well as to others in respect of defects existing at the time of the lease or sale or after lease or sale. Duty of a Lessor to Strangers in Respect of Defects Arising after the Lease 4. Duty of the Vendor to the vendee and others . 1. Duty of a Lessor to his Lessee in Respect of Defects Arising after the Lease 3.

e. eg. . due to the animal.. He may be liable absolutely for trespass of his cattle on another’s land and damage resulting from the trespass. for breach of contract. 1.Duty Of Possession And Management Of Chattels The duties arising from the possession and ownership of chattel very differ according to the nature of the chattel. his liability is absolute under the special rule in Rylands v Fletcher. 3. public or private. for injury to another by an animal in his possession or control. 4. DUTY OF PERSONS IN POSSESSION AND MANAGEMENT OF ANIMALS A person may become liable in more than one mode. his liability according to the rule applicable to him as occupier of premises towards invitees or licensees. He may be liable for a nuisance. When a person brings in his land something which is likely to escape and do harm. He may be liable otherwise than in tort. When a person in possession of premises (i. He may be liable for negligence where the animals are cattle or otherwise and whether. 2. land. building or any other structure) invites or permits another person to enter the premises and the letter is injured by the chattel therein.

there is a special statute in England. This duty cannot be confined merely to intrinsically dangerous work any work is badly done may give rise to danger.DUTY OF PERSONS IN POSSESSION AND MANAGEMENT OF A CARRIAGE A carriage may be by land (eg. the Civil Aviation Act 1949. SO we see that repair of chattel would be liable to his employer and also to others. whether to person or property. As regards aircraft. without proof of negligence. He owes this duty not merely to the person who employs him and is therefore in a contractual relation with him. the onus will be on him to disprove his fault or the fault of persons employed by him. this is the rule applicable to the owner of an international carriage in the case of an accident resulting in death or bodily harm of a passenger during flight or embarking or disembarking. By reason of the carriage by Air Act in India. s 40. which makes its owner liable for all actual damage done by it while in flight. He is under a duty to take reasonable care to do the work without creating a danger to life or property. motor car. DUTY IN REGARD TO PERFORMANCE OF WORK   A person who undertakes to perform work should not do so without possessing the requisite degree of skill and competence required for the work. animal-drawn vehicle. but also to any third person to whom injury is likely. In any case. In India there is no such proof of statutory provision but a single principle may be applied. ship. sea (eg. and railway-train). the builder or repairer of a house or other structure . The duty to a third person was held in doubt formerly but now follows the decision in Donoghue v Stevenson. submarine) or air (aircraft). On this principle.