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

Laverton v Kiapasha, Court of Appeal

27 November 2002
The issues

Wet slippery floor – Occupiers Liability Act – contributory negligence – slipping.

The facts

The Defendants owned a takeaway shop. The Claimant had been out in pubs and ending in a club. In the early hours of Saturday morning, she visited the Defendant’s shop. She was wearing ankle boots with 1Ω inch cowboy style heels. She had drunk something in the region of 10 double bacardis or 20 units of alcohol according to the hospital which received her after the accident. The shop was about 12 foot 7 by 13 foot 5 in respect of the public area. There were about 30 people in the shop at the time.

The floor of the shop was wet from rain being walked into the shop. The Claimant slipped and fractured her ankle.

The shop floor had been re-laid in 1996 with slip resistant tiles. The Defendant had 2 mops and a bucket at the back of the shop to deal with spillages. On busy nights, they mopped up 6-7 times but could not mop when the shop was full. The Judge found for the Claimant at first instance finding that the Defendant had failed to take reasonable care in operating the cleaning system and particularly given that the tiles when slippery were wet and that there was no mat in place. No finding of contributory negligence was made. The Defendant appealed.

The decision

Lord Justice Mance – Dissenting

1. There was a distinction between mopping up greasy spillages which would pose a particular hazard and dealing with a naturally occurring phenomenon like walked in water which was not an unusual danger, was not concealed, and was something of which customers ought to be aware.

Moreover, walked in water was something that could not be avoided completely even with a mat and regular mopping.

The Claimant should have been aware of the risk. The slip resistant floor could not be criticised.

There had been no previous incidents of this sort.

The duty was to take reasonable care to ensure that visitors were reasonably safe. Safety was not guaranteed. It would be going too far to say every shop of this type should have a fixed doormat and, even if there had been, it would not have prevented water being brought in at busy times to make the floor slippery. The floor could not be mopped at busy times and the only answer would have been to shut the shop which the Defendant should have done if customers could not otherwise be safe. But “the reality is at such times the customers can be reasonably safe if they take reasonable care for their own safety”.

2. If the Defendant had been found liable, contributory negligence would have been assessed at 50% (Lord Justice Mance dissented save as to contributory negligence on the basis that even non-slip tiles are more slippery when wet and at the heart of the first instance Judge’s reasoning was that there would have been less water on the floor if the mat had been in place and the system of cleaning up water had been operated in the way in which the Defendant said it should have been operated. The Judge was entitled to find that the situation at the time that the Claimant entered would have been materially different as regards water on the tiles inside the shop if the mat and/or the system had been in place and in operation.)

focus on...

Legal updates

Non-payment of insurance premiums during the Coronavirus pandemic

The forced closure of many businesses as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Recent reports from the Office for National Statistics state that the economy was 25% smaller in April than it was in February this year.

View

Legal updates

Reinstatement for property damage losses – when does it apply?

The Court of Appeal has recently considered the correct test for measuring the indemnity for property damage losses and has provided useful guidance on whether an insured needs to intend to reinstate the property to its pre-loss condition.

View

Legal updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) insurance considerations

With instances of COVID-19 rapidly increasing throughout the UK, many businesses are considering the options available to limit staff and customer exposure to Coronavirus.

View

Legal updates

Insurance annual review 2019-2020

Welcome to our review of 2019 as we look ahead to what is on the horizon for the insurance sector in 2020.

View

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