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

Rhind v Astbury Water Park Ltd and Maxout Ltd, High Court, 16 May 2003

4 June 2003
The issues

Occupier’s liability – diving into shallow water

The facts

On the 17th May 1998, the Claimant dived in Astbury Mere. He was trying to get a football which had been kicked into the Mere. He was nearly 20 at the time and had been playing with a group of friends on a field next to the beach. Although the Claimant had not swum in the Mere on this occasion, he and his friends had previously and they were aware that swimming was not allowed. The Judge found that all had read at least one of the notices saying “private property – strictly no swimming allowed” at some time.

The Claimant jogged into the water for about 10 paces and when the water was somewhere between his lower thighs and waist, he dived. He described his dive as a flat, shallow dive. Although it was not clear, the Judge found that the Claimant had probably struck his head on a plastic object on the bed of the lake. As a result, he suffered a C5 body wedge compression fracture resulting in incomplete Tetraplegia. The Judge found that the evidence was that the public at large were invited to roam all over the country park and did so, including the land on the edge of the Mere itself. The Judge found that the Claimant was not a trespasser when he entered the water to retrieve a ball, although such permission did not extend to swimming or diving. The notice prohibited swimming and did not purport to prohibit activities that the Judge had observed on a video shown to him, namely adults and children playing about in and wallowing in the shallow water near the beach, which had open access from the country park.

The decision

1. The Defendants were licencee or sub-licencee and had limited rights over the Mere, carrying out specific activities upon it. They were not general occupiers. Their activities had no relationship whatever, either to the Claimant or his entry into the water.

2. The risk of injury through diving was so obvious that these Defendants owed no duty to post specific warning of that risk or to exclude members of the public from the water’s edge, whether by fencing, landscaping or notice.

3. Neither Defendant could be reasonably required to scour the Mere’s bottom for obstructions or to have patrols attempting to stop people entering the water.

4. The Claimant knew swimming was prohibited in the Mere as was by implication, driving. The true cause of the Claimant’s accident was his foolhardy action in running into the water and doing a running dive.

Claim dismissed.

focus on...

Legal updates

Noise-induced hearing loss claims – documentation and the expert engineer

Guest writer, Finch Consulting Senior Consultant Teli Chinelis applies his expertise in preparing engineering reports in relation to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) claims to explain information that is required from the claimant and information that is required and is advisable to be retained by employers, in order to ensure that claims can be fairly represented.

View

Legal updates

SRA Standards and Regulations November 2019

On Monday 25 November the 2011 SRA Handbook is replaced by the 2019 SRA Standards and Regulations (often referred to as STARS).This is the 26th version of the Code of Conduct for Solicitors.

View

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).

View

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.

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