0370 270 6000

Cooper v Carillion Plc, Court of Appeal, 2 December 2003

10 December 2003
The issues

Contributory Negligence – Whole – Building Site – Foreseeability

The facts

The Claimant was employed on the Defendant’s building site. He was told to pick up and carry a sheet of plywood, which he did in front of his body. His Foreman helped him also holding the board in front of his body but walking backwards. The Claimant fell down a hole, which had been covered by the plywood sheet. He was seriously injured. The Judge found for the Claimant but also found the Claimant contributorily negligent to the extent of 10%. The Claimant appealed.

The decision

1. The issue for the Court was whether the Claimant had been negligent and whether he should have foreseen the danger to him.

2. An employee was generally entitled to rely on his employer’s expected compliance with statutory duty.

3. Where there had been a breach of statutory duty, it was important not to take away the employee’s recourse by a finding of contributory negligence. Whilst with hindsight it was possible to say what the employee should have done to protect his safety, that was not in itself enough to establish a finding of contributory negligence.

4. The basis of the Judge’s decision was that the Claimant should have looked under the board before he started to carry it. However that was expecting too much from the Claimant. It raised the question of why he should have looked under the board. There had been no previous incidents of loose boards covering holes and all the evidence had shown that holes were not covered generally without the boards being secured and labelled with a warning. The Judge was wrong to make a finding of contributory negligence.

Appeal allowed.

Focus on...

Press releases

Browne Jacobson wins Inclusion & Diversity Award at the National Insurance Awards 2022

Insurance law firm Browne Jacobson has won the Inclusion & Diversity Award at the National Insurance Awards 2022. The National Insurance Awards are judged by an independent panel of experts and celebrate excellence in the sector by highlighting the very best in general insurance provision and management.

View

Blogs

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.

View

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.

View

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.

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