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teacher not expected to be ‘all-seeing’ - common sense prevails?

23 July 2012

The Court of Appeal has overturned a court’s previous decision to award a schoolboy damages of £21,000 for injuries caused to his face when he was hit with a golf club by a fellow pupil during a PE lesson.

The Court overruled the original decision which found Redcar and Cleveland Council liable for the injuries. The original decision considered that the teacher had been negligent in failing to keep all of the 22 pupils in the class “in his line of sight” at all times.

This “unrealistic burden” was overturned by the Court of Appeal who found that, however observant a teacher was, he could simply not be expected to see every action of all the pupils at all times.

In light of an increasing tendency by the courts to place onerous duties on employers and occupiers alike, we hope this decision heralds a change in the tide and that common sense will finally prevail on such personal injury claims for the future.

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