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Dodkins v West Ham United Plc

1 June 2000

Duty of Care – Football Club

The facts

The Claimant was a Season Ticket Holder. The Claimant went to watch the first match of the season arriving 2 hours before kick off. 5 yards from the gate into the car park and straight outside it was a man hole cover set in the pavement and forming part of the highway. The cover had been broken – probably by a vehicle leaving the car park or entering that afternoon. Security staff hired by the football club were at the ground all afternoon. One was at the gate to check and record every vehicle entering or leaving. The cover had been damaged while he was present. He ought to have seen or heard the damage but did nothing about it.

When the Claimant arrived it was not marked or sectioned off and there was no warning. The Claimant tripped and sprained his ankle. Subsequently the football club took steps to mark the hazard with traffic cones and board.

The decision

Although the hazard was outside the boundary this was not conclusive. The injury was foreseeable and the relationship was one of sufficient proximity to give rise to the duty and it was fair and reasonable to impose that duty.

Judgment in favour of the Claimant.

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