The decision reinforces that the standard of the duty of care owed by schools is one or reasonableness.
The recent dismissal of a claim brought against Danes Educational Trust following a liability trial before Her Honour Judge Bloom reinforces that the standard of the duty of care owed by schools is one or reasonableness and not a guarantee that no incident will occur on school premises.
The claimant, a sixth form student, suffered a significant injury following a very unfortunate incident while climbing over locked school gates on the morning of the last school day of the year. It was alleged the school was in breach of the duty owed under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 to take reasonable care to ensure the reasonable safety of visitors, on the basis that, (i) there was an expectation the gate in question would be unlocked and open from 7am, (ii) there was a lack of supervision on site prior to the school day starting, (iii) there was no risk assessment relating to the gates and (iv) there was a failure to warn of the dangers posed by the gates.
The court considered each allegation and found there were no deficiencies in either the premises or school’s procedures:
The court concluded that there was no breach of the common law duty of care and that, at the time of the accident, the claimant could not be considered a lawful visitor for the purposes of the Occupiers Liability Act 1957. The claimant had limited permission to enter the premises, but that did not extend to being permitted to climb the gate and therefore any duty of care owed was the lesser duty under the Occupiers liability Act 1984. There was no reasonable foresight that the claimant would suffer injury in the manner in which she did and therefore no liability on the school - the claimant had made a foolish error that could not be foreseen and the school was not liable for her actions.
Schools can take comfort from the decision, which emphasises that the courts will be slow to impose an unreasonably high burden and that there is not a duty to warn of an obvious risk. Schools are not expected to be a risk-free environment and all factors will be taken into account when considering reasonable levels of supervision and a need to risk assess, to include a student’s age and maturity.
Browne Jacobson’s liability litigation team represented the defendant Trust in the case and frequently advises academy trusts and maintained schools following accidents on school premises.
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As well as providing day-to-day support to help you focus on managing your settings, we also provide training and professional development on a range of topics to keep you and your staff up-to-date.
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We’re pleased to collaborate with Lloyds Bank, who recently asked us and audit and risk specialists Crowe UK to offer guidance that academy trusts would find helpful when considering setting up a trading subsidiary.
On 2 November 2022, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the much awaiting case of Hillside Parks Ltd v Snowdonia National Park Authority  UKSC 30. The Court’s judgment suggests that the long established practice of using drop-in applications is in fact much more restricted than previously thought. This judgment therefore has significant implications for both the developers and local planning authorities.
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In ‘failure to remove’ claims, the claimant alleges abuse in the family home and asserts that the local authority should have known about the abuse and/or that they should have removed the claimant from the family home and into care earlier.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was established in March 2015. We now have its report. As you would expect with such a broad scope, the report is long and makes a number of far-reaching recommendations. In this article, Dai Durbridge highlights seven of the 20 recommendations, sets out how they could impact on schools and suggests what steps to take now.
Browne Jacobson’s education team has been named as winner of the ‘Legal Advisors to Education Institutions’ category at the Education Investor Awards 2022 for a record sixth time.
Since the new Suspensions and Exclusions Statutory Guidance was published, we have received a lot of questions about the use of managed moves. For the first time, the Statutory Guidance does explain what a managed move is, but in relatively broad terms and does not cover the mechanics of how a managed move should operate.
Across the UK, homelessness is an urgent crisis, and one that is set to grow amid the rising cost of living. Local authorities are at the forefront of responding to this crisis, but with a lack of properties that are suitable for social housing across the UK, vulnerable individuals and families are often housed in temporary accommodation.
Over 3000 young people from across the UK and Ireland took part in a virtual legal careers insight event, aimed at making the legal profession more diverse.
Holly Quirk, an associate barrister in Browne Jacobson’s Manchester office, was awarded the Legal Professional of the Year Award at this year’s Manchester Young Talent Awards.
The risk of assault against staff is, sadly, something that all schools need to consider carefully. Here one legal expert explains what they can do to protect staff and ensure they fulfil their duty of care.
Two directors of a construction company were fined after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos from a plot of land. On 14 and 15 November 2021, Directors Anthony Sumner and Neil Brown, of Waterbarn Limited were involved in the uncontrolled removal of asbestos material from a plot of land in Grasscroft, Oldham.
An engineering company in Tyne and Wear was fined £20,000 after a worker fractured his pelvis and suffered internal injuries after falling through a petrol station forecourt canopy, whilst he was replacing the guttering.
Browne Jacobson’s education team has again been confirmed as a national powerhouse after securing five Tier 1 rankings relating to Education in the latest edition of Legal 500 and maintaining a Band 1 UK-wide ranking for Education in Chambers & Partners UK 2023.
Updates include UK Shared Prosperity Fund, contracts, Subsidy Control Bill, data controller liability, Government Covid-19 procurement and Highway Code revisions.
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Created at the end of the Brexit transition period, Retained EU Law is a category of domestic law that consists of EU-derived legislation retained in our domestic legal framework by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This was never intended to be a permanent arrangement as parliament promised to deal with retained EU law through the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (the “Bill”).
It is clear that the digital landscape, often termed cyberspace, is a man-made environment, in which human behaviour dominates and where technology both influences and aids our role in it — through the internet, telecoms and networked computer systems, which are often interdependent. The extent to which any organisation is potentially vulnerable to cyber-attack depends on how well these elements are aligned.
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In this article we set out the criteria, expectations and support schools should consider if notified they fall within this new category.
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In this article we set out the most common issues we encounter, along with guidance on assessing and mitigating the risk from assaults.
In this article we set out some of the support that's available to schools in a bid to reduce the overhead that complaints management generates.