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Nevis Sixth Form College| CAPE LAW Unit 2 1

Exam Skeleton

Occupier’s Liability Exam Skeleton


Definitions:
 Occupier – may be defined as a person having possession or control of the premises. The owner
of the property, if in possession, will be deemed to be the occupier; but if he is out of possession,
eg where the property is let to a tenant, then the tenant will be the occupier, and not the owner.
 Wheat v E. Lacon
 Miller v Hancock

 Premises – defined very widely to include not only land and buildings but also any fixed or
moveable structures.
- Bunker v Brand

 Visitor – a person who enters lawfully, that is, not a trespasser.


 Invitees
 Trespassers
 Licensees

Common Law Liability * NB There is no Occupier’s Liability Statute in St. Kitts and Nevis
 Know the distinction between an invitee and a licensee.
 You should identify clearly whether the person is an invitee or a licensee if you were to attempt a
question of this nature.

1. Liability to Invitees
 An invitee enters the premises for business which concerns the occupier eg customer to
a shop
 At common law, the occupier of premises owes an invitee a duty to exercise
reasonable care to prevent damage to the invitee from an unusual danger known
to the occupier or of which the occupier ought to have known.
 Indermaur v Dames1 – defined the term invitee – a person who enters premises
‘upon business which concerns the occupier, and upon his invitation, express or
implied’
 London v Graving Dock v Horton2 – An unusual danger is one which is not usually
found in carrying out the task or fulfilling the function which the invitee has in hand.

1 (1866) LR 1 CP 274
2 [1957] AC 737
Nevis Sixth Form College| CAPE LAW Unit 2 2
Exam Skeleton

 Cox v Chan3 – the occupier’s duty is ‘not an absolute duty to prevent any damage to
the claimant, but is a lesser one of using reasonable care to prevent damage to the
claimant from an unusual danger of which the defendant knew or ought to have
known, and of which the claimant did not know or of which he could not have been
aware.
 The Calgarth
 Sawyers v H and G Simonds
 Harripersad v Mini Max Ltd – Harripersad was shopping in Mini Max when she slipped
and fell to the ground, injuring her knee. Harripersad proved that she fell in a part of
the store where water collected from a dripping air conditioner. Mini Max had placed
sheets of newspaper on the floor to absorb the water but after some time the paper
became saturated and the water continued to collect there. The floor itself was made
of tiles which were known to have a very smooth surface, and the presence of water
made it ‘slippery and potentially dangerous to customers’. It was held that
Harripersad’s fall was caused by the wet floor which was an unusual danger known
to Mini Max, who were therefore liable to Harripersad in negligence.

2. Liability to Licensees

 A licensee is a person to whom the occupier ‘voluntarily concedes a benefit or


privilege…without deriving a corresponding material advantage from [his] presence.
 A licensee is a person who has permission from the occupier to enter the premises where,
without that permission, his presence would be unlawful. Eg friend invited to dinner or a
person invited for a social or recreational purpose.
 At common law, the occupier’s only duty is to warn of concealed dangers or traps
actually known to him
 The licensee must otherwise take the occupier’s premises as he finds them.
 Favre v Lucayan County Clubs Ltd4 – Favre was a non-paying member of a privately
run club with a 250 acre golf course. While he was out on the course alone one
morning, he was robbed and shot by 2 masked gunmen who had been hiding in the
bushes. On the previous day, an official of the club had been held up and robbed by
a gunman near the same part of the course at about the same time of day. Smith J
held that Favre was a mere licensee, being a person who was given, without cost to
him, the privilege of playing golf on the course. He did not have to pay fees and he
was free to go around the course on foot and would not have to spend one cent for
a cart. The learned judge held the club liable for the injuries sustained by Favre, on

3 (1991) Supreme Court, The Bahamas, No 755 of 1988 (unreported)


4 CariLaw BS 1990 SC 64
Nevis Sixth Form College| CAPE LAW Unit 2 3
Exam Skeleton

the ground that its officials knew of the risk of attacks by bandits on the golf course,
yet did not warn Favre of the danger.

3. Liability to Trespassers
 An occupier does not owe a duty of care to trespassers, he does owe a duty of common
humanity, or a duty to act ‘in accordance with common standards of civilized behaviour’.
 British Railway Board v Herrington
 Edwards v Railway
 Gould v McAuliffe
 R v Smith and Jones
 Trespassing Employees
- Employers owe a duty at common law to his employees to take reasonable care to
provide a safe place of work, but this duty is confined to those areas of the workplace
which the employee is authorized to enter.
- If he enters a part of the premises which he knows to be ‘out of bounds’ to him, he will
be generally treated as a trespasser.
- Alcan (Jamaica) Ltd v Nicholson - a welder, during his lunch break, left his area of
work at a bauxite site and entered a restricted area in search of cigarettes. There he
suffered a serious eye injury when caustic soda stored in the tanks splashed in his eye.
The employer/occupier was held not liable for the injury because the welder was a
trespasser in the area who knew he had no right to be there and was well aware of the
dangers of caustic soda.

4. Liability to persons with a Common Calling


 Roles v Nathan
 Salmon v Seafarer

5. Liability to Children
 Glasgow v Taylor
 Jolley v Sutton LBC

Warnings – Staples v W. Dorset

Defences
 Volenti non fit injuria; and
 Contributory negligence.

Remedies
 Damages