Occupier's Liability 1954

  • Created by: erw16
  • Created on: 15-12-18 15:54

An occupier owes a duty of care to lawful visitors to keep them reasonably safe. Under S.1(1), you owe a duty of care to lawful visitors due to the state of the premises . There is no statutory definition of 'occupier', in S.1(2), so the definition follows common law rules. Under, Wheat v E. Lacon, an occupier is someone who has some degree of control over the premises. There can also be more than one occupier of premises at any one time.

Under S.1(3), there is no definition of premises but in the act it includes land or builidings, and fixed or moveable structures.

A person will be classed as a visitor if they have express or implied permission Anyone without permission is classed as a trespasser and the 1957 act will no longer apply, so then the Occupier's Liability Act 1984 applies.

A person has express permission if they have gained permission to enter the premises, for example by being asked to enter the premises. Permission can be withdrawn but the person must be given reasonable time to leave before they then become a trespasser.

A person may not have express permission but may be still classed as a visitor if they courts decided that they had implied permission to be there. For example the police or firebrigade, or those who enter the shops are taken to have permission to be there. This was set out in the case of Lowrey v Walker.

However a person excercising a right of way is not classed as a visitor nor a trespasser so is not covered in the 1957 Act. As confirmed in the case of McGeown v Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

Under S.2(1) of the 1957 Act, an occupier of premises owes a common duty of care to visitor to those premises. A common duty of care is defined in S.2(2) of the Act as "The duty to take such care in all the circumstances...see that the vistitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises." The standard of care expected is the same as ordinary negligengence, so the occupier need only protect the vistor from foreseable risks. This duty only applies whilst the vistor is using the premises for the purposes for which they are invited or permitted to be there. As set out in The Calgarth, "When you invite a person into your house to use the stairs, you do not permit him to use the banisters." Which means


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