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

Gouth v Upshire Primary School, Queens Bench Division

19 February 2001
The issues

Accident to Child at School – Contributory Negligence – Standard of Discipline

The facts

The Claimant fell from a banister 12 feet and sustained serious head injuries. A class was in progress at the time of the accident and the Claimant and a number of other children were visiting the toilet.

The stairway and banister had been there since the school was built in 1939 and confirmed to applicable building regulations. There had been no reported similar incidents in the history of the school. Discipline was generally of a high order at the school and the Claimant was ordinarily a well-behaved child aware of ordinary dangers. Signs were present on or near the stairway illustrating the danger of running and the rule to keep to the right.

The decision

The test was whether or not the school could reasonably have foreseen that a pupil might attempt to slide down this banister and if foreseeable, whether the risk that a pupil might do so was such as to require preventative measures to be aimed at that risk. The school could not be held to be negligent however in failing to take steps against a possibility which although foreseeable was considered no more likely than many other risks which might befall children at school. In terms of contributory negligence, any contribution to the responsibility to the accident will be less for an 8-year-old child than for an adult. However, if the school had been found in breach of duty “a substantial percentage of contributory negligence would have been findable even against an 8 year old simply because clearly he knew there was serious danger involved in what he was doing”.

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