0370 270 6000

Palmer v Marks & Spencer Plc, Court of Appeal

16 October 2001
The issues

Slipping accidents – Employer liability.

The facts

The Claimant worked for Marks & Spencer. She tripped on a weather strip in the store. The weather strip was on an activated door at the end of a well-lit corridor. It was a staff exit. The weather strip was between 8 and 9 1/2mm higher than the surrounding floor. It had been there for up to two years and up to 8000 people would have walked over it during that time. There were no known previous accidents or complaints. At first instance the Judge found for the Claimant, that the traffic route was not suitable for its purpose and that it was uneven. The Defendants appealed.

The decision

It was obvious that a weather strip would make a floor uneven if set higher than the floor. A balancing exercise had to be made having regard to the way in which the floor was constructed as to the seriousness of the risk of injury as against the cost of putting it right. The issues included the nature of the risk, the fact that the strip was by a door, the fact that it was only 9 1/2mm at its highest, and the fact that it was next to a step.

The Claimant knew the exit well.

The Claimant was 63 and walked without picking her feet up. Presumably she was not the only employee that walked that way – people like her had managed to go through the door without difficulty. It was impossible to say that the floor was not suitable. It did not expose individual’s safety risks. Not every trip could entitle the Claimant to compensation and the Court should have reached that conclusion. Appeal allowed.

Focus on...

Legal updates

Court of Appeal confirms exclusive English jurisdiction clause in excess liability policies in Canadian pipeline dispute

On 10 June 2022 the Court of Appeal upheld an anti-suit injunction granted in favour of insurers by Mr Justice Jacobs in September 2021 restraining proceedings from being brought in Canada and enforcing the exclusive English jurisdiction clause in excess liability policies.



Payment Fraud landscape shaped by technology in 2021

Payment systems across Europe are under increased pressure to mitigate fraud risks and defend against persistent attacks from enablers using ever more sophisticated and malicious viruses and malware.


Legal updates

Gosden and another v Halliwell Landau and another [2021] EWHC 159 (Comm)

This claim addressed the question, of when the date for assessment of damages in cases of negligence should be determined and shows that when appropriate the Courts will depart from the default position.


Legal updates

Assessing the scope of employers liability – Chell v Tarmac

These were the opening remarks of Mr Justice Martin Spencer when handing down his Judgment in the recent case of Andrew Chell v Tarmac Cement and Lime Limited [2020] EWHC 2613, the latest in a series of appeals dealing with the scope of vicarious liability.


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