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

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...

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