John Dawson v. Ruth Page, 29 February 2012 – Occupier not liable for wet plank which was obviously slippery

Outer 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 because the wet plank did not constitute a danger, and, even if it did, there was no requirement on Ms Page to exclude people from the site or give warning of the risks.

Lord Glennie observed:

“Wet planks may be slippery. A notice is not required to point that out. Such dangers, if they be dangers, send out their own warning. The pursuer observed that the plank looked slippery. What more would a notice have told him? Accordingly, I reject the submission that the defender was required, in the exercise of any duty under the Act to take reasonable care, to exclude people from the site or to put up a notice warning of whatever danger was posed by the plank walkway.”

The full decision is available from Scottish Courts here.

(See appeal to Inner House here)

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

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