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Nominate Torts Occupier's Liability Notes

BCL Law Notes > Tort Law: Nominate Torts Notes

This is an extract of our Nominate Torts Occupier's Liability document, which we sell as part of our Tort Law: Nominate Torts Notes collection written by the top tier of University College Dublin students.

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Occupier's Liability

• Occupier's liability - completely manipulated by judiciary to mould it into an act

• Predates Donoghue v Stevenson - 1867 in the case indemaur v dames

• Land owners used to be favoured over trespassers - more protection

• Diff. categories of entrants:

• The categories depended on what benefit was brought to the owner

• higher the benefit the more of a duty owed.
a) visitor -

o invited by contract (implied) or by occupier or by occupier's - family

highest standard of care

legislation

must prevent or eliminate existing danger subject to supervision and self-care

Common duty of care under s3 of act

c) trespasser -
o

not a visitor and not a recreational user

d) recreational user

o

o

o

Same duty as a trespasser
Usually outdoors
Someone engaging in recreational activity
Parking for recreational use does not amount to visitor
Duty for these is not to intentionally harm or act in reckless disregard
Warn them of danger

• If premises were in 'active state' - then they were seen as a danger state which creates a stronger duty for the owner
Important to identify a few things:
1) Who's the occupier 2) Who's the entrant 3) Premises 4) What category of entrant?

Classification/ categories 1) Contractual entry

• Entrant have a contract w/ land owner.

• Here it is the contract you turn to and general negligence principles applied

• Owner must ensure that premises were safe - entrant can carry out activity safely

• Duty on owner

2) Non-contractual

No contract but were invited somehow
Must confer some form of benefit on owner - implied
The invite may be concluded by the benefit ^
Law would also apply a limitation as to where was open
Scope of limitation extended to where it is reasonable for invitees to go

O Keefe v Irish Motors Inn
Two men drinking on premises. Plaintiff found at 2am drunk in alleyway after tripping over danger hazard. He attempted to sue. He was invited however not into the alleyway. It is accepted that there's a duty owed to where its reasonable for them to go but in this case it wasn't.
- Changed from a visitor to a trespasser
This is an example of a limitation imposed based on reasonableness

Indermauer v Dames: - An invitee carrying out safety for himself is entitled to expect the occupier to carry out the same measures to prevent harm from 'an unusual danger' < if occupier knows/ought to have known of it.
This was looking at the danger through the eyes of the occupier.

Rooney v Connelly
Local priest encouraged children of local national school to visit church. Part was to light candles. 7 year old jumper caught on fire and suffered serious burns.
A candle doesn't fall within the unusual danger category for the
ADULT, but the court held that it was to a child.
- Looked at the danger through the eyes of the entrant rather than the occupier.
This shifted the perspective.
Invitees owed highest duties

3) Licencees
Entitled to occupy premises on permission of owner
Permission can be expressed or implied
Usually implied by occupier's conductsilence constitutes permission if they knew of the occupier's presence.

Occupier owes duty to warn/prevent danger or injury from not only unusual, but concealed dangers of which the licensor KNOWS OF.
Priest > he knows of the danger here.
Child licensee becomes equated with an invitee.
- Favoured child entrants Which was a change
If a licensor knows of a danger its their duty to warn licensee even if concealed danger

4) Tresspassers
Initially afforded no protection as trespassing is a tort in the first place.
Why should an occupier owe a duty?
Should not be there >> makes them unpredictable and unreasonable burden on occupier
Duty limited to obligation not to
- intentionally injure entrant or to recklessly harm or threaten safety
Williams v TP Wallace Construction 2002
P was the general manager of a business dealing with gutters. The
Defendants were building contractors working on construction of a shopping centre. There was difficult w/ the gutters so the owner invited her to take a look. When she arrived, the main builder,
mr.maher told her to wait for the others until she goes onto the construction area. While there, she climbed a step ladder than was not properly secured/tied to the scaffolding, fell and suffered from
PI.
At the time she was on the premises = visitor. Upon climbing up the scaffolding, she became a trespasser as she was not invited up there.
This meant that the duty changed from preventing injury from existing danger, to not intentionally harming the P or acting with reckless disregard. Court found that
She was not a visitor while on the roof - Within the meaning of the act
- not tying the ladder was not acting in reckless disregard
- Status can change

O'Leary v Wood
Child trespassers
Allurement doctrine:
Says that an object even if not generally allurement that no reasonable child could restrain from touching is a danger, even if the child knows its dangerous.
- Elevated a child to a licensee

Purtill v Athlone 1968 2 young boys who frequently visited abattoir
Entered as licensees - stole a detonator and brought it with them to shed in back garden. Here, they let off detonator and are injured. At moment of them stealing the detonator, their status changes.
Intentional trespassers - deliberate crime.
SC applied proximity and reasonable foreseeability and occupier was held liable.
Extended liability very far
Why? Nature of property. The occupier ought to have known of the danger and therefore owes duty
- Even if child committing a crime, occupier has duty to take measures based on nature of the premises

McNamara v ESB 1975

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