22nd February, 2023

Success for Jamie Hill in High Court appeal

Jamie Hill has been successful in persuading the High Court to overturn the judgment given in favour of the Claimant.

The matter initially came before the County Court for trial in November 2021. At trial, the Trial Judge accepted that the Claimant had slipped on a spilt drink on the floor of the Defendant's bar in June 2019 and suffered an ankle injury. However, the Trial Judge also accepted the evidence given by the Defendant’s assistant manager that on the night the Defendant had 3 members of staff known as 'spotters' circulating the bar, collecting glasses and checking for spillages. The Trial Judge found that the area where the Claimant fell was being checked by the Defendant's staff every 10-15 minutes. Despite Jamie arguing in closing submissions at trial that the system the Defendant was operating was sufficient to discharge the duty of care owed pursuant to the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957, the Trial Judge disagreed, and found for the Claimant.

Jamie was instructed to advise and thereafter to represent the Defendant at the appeal hearing before the High Court in May 2022. In the recently handed down judgment, the High Court accepted Jamie's submission that the Trial Judge had fallen into error by imposing a too high standard of care upon the Defendant. The High Court noted the Defendant had called 'direct and detailed evidence' of the system it was operating and that a requirement for a more robust system would have placed an absolute duty upon the Defendant to ensure no spilt drink could ever be present on the floor at all. Accordingly, the High Court set aside the judgment and order of the County Court and entered judgment for the Defendant. A copy of the judgment is available here.

Jamie was instructed throughout by Catherine Canham of Kennedys LLP.

For more details about Jamie's personal injury practice, please click here to view his profile or contact his clerk Joe Gibson / Phillip Spencer.

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