0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Dobwell v Thanet District Council

15 September 2000
The issues

Occupiers liability – Claimant falling down a flight of stairs.

The facts

Claimant fell down a flight of stairs leading to a public lavatory late at night. The premises were locked and the stairway was unlit. The Claimant bought a claim for damages in negligence and breach of duty under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 contending that premises had not been lit properly nor that a warning been given that the premises were closed by placing a gate across the entry. The Claimant’s evidence was that she had drunk a relatively small amount of alcohol and because of the lack of light had been unable to see the handrail that was present. She said that she “expected” the premises to be safe. The Defendant contended that the Claimant was volenti to the risk in that she used the stairs knowing they were unlit and that she was contributory negligent in that she did not look where she was going and did not appreciate from the time and the absence of light that the lavatories were closed.

The decision

The claim was dismissed. The Claimant had voluntarily accepted the risk of injury by using the stairs in the darkness and without taking proper care for her own safety. Moreover the A&E note showed that the Claimant had consumed a far greater quantity of alcohol than she admitted in her evidence which impinged upon her credibility. If the finding of the volenti was wrong the Claimant would be contributorily negligent to a high degree.

focus on...

Legal updates

Contingent loss in negligence claims

Contingent loss is relevant to limitation; specifically, the date at which a claimant’s cause of action accrues for the purposes of a claim in the tort of negligence (as many claims against professional advisers are framed).


Legal updates

Legal and regulatory monthly update - September 2019

The latest update covering delegated authority, insurance product development, the senior insurance managers regime, data protection, operational control frameworks, Lloyds market, and horizon scanning.


Legal updates

Kuoni referred to the CJEU by Supreme Court for clarification - possible impact on breach of contract, vicarious liability and assumption of responsibility claims for sexual abuse and assault

We were hoping to be able to give you some interesting insights following the judgment of X v Kuoni Travel Ltd but that will have to wait for another day.


Legal updates

The disappearance of LIBOR

Companies should undertake a comprehensive review and audit to identify those products and legacy contracts that are LIBOR-linked and carry out an in-depth risk assessment of discontinuation. Where possible, companies should look at appointing an individual to oversee the programme.


The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up