(Business law) occupiers liability ACT

The liability of an occupier was first spelt out in the case of Stevenson v Glasgow Corporation*3 where Lord M’Laren explained that “precautions which have been rejected by common sense as unnecessary and inconvenient are not required by law.” This position was recently cited by Lord Hutton in the case of Tomlinson v Congleton Borough Council*4 where the defendants were not held liable for Tomlison’s injuries, because the injury had come about due to Tomlinson’s choice to undertake a dangerous activity rather than because the premises were dangerous. In the case of Robert Addie and Sons v Dumbreck*5 Lord Hailsham limited the liability of occupiers, especially towards trespassers, when he stated that an occupier would be liable only “where the injury [was] due to some willful act involving something more than the absence of reasonable care” or when the occupier had demonstrated a “reckless disregard of the trespasser’s presence.” In the instant case, a child died but the defendant was not held to be liable because the child had received sufficient warning about the dangers on the property.
However, subsequent cases have refined the harsh, blanket standard that was applied towards trespassers in general, reducing Occupier liability to an extent where it was negligible. When the claimant for injury is a child, Occupier liability increases in view of a child’s lack of appreciation for danger and their “ingenuity in finding unexpected ways of doing mischief to themselves should never be underestimated”, as stated by Lord Hoffman*6. The House of Lords ruled against the occupier in the case of Jolley because occupier knew that the boat the victim was repairing was dangerous but did not bother to warn the child. In fact, Section 2 (3) (a) of the Occupier Liability Act specifies that “an occupier must be prepared for children to be less