John Dawson v. Ruth Page, 3 April 2013 – Occupier’s liability for obvious dangers

Inner House case considering a claim for damages under the Occupiers Liability (Scotland) Act 1960. Mr Dawson worked as a self employed courier and was delivering a package to Ms Page’s cottage. Building works were taking place at the cottage and the surroundings resembled a building site.  After making two unsuccessful visits to the cottage to deliver the package, Mr Dawson left the package under an oil storage tank in the back garden. As he was leaving the cottage he slipped on a wet plank over a trench in the garden and injured his hand.

Mr Dawson’s claim for damages failed in the Outer House.  After noting wet planks are slippery and a notice is not required to point that out, Lord Glennie found that there was no requirement on Ms Page to exclude people from the site or give warning of the risks. The Inner House observed that the fundamental aim of the 1960 Act had been to the restore a broad test of reasonableness in relation to such claims and rejected Mr Dawson’s appeal which was based the argument that Lord Glennie should not have reached the conclusion that a state of affairs which is obvious is not a danger.

The full decision is available from Scottish Courts here.

All of our property and conveyancing case summaries are contained in the LKS Property and Conveyancing Casebook here.


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