Geary v Wetherspoon

Geary v Wetherspoon


Geary v Wetherspoon is a case which exactly fits Scrutton LJ’s well known example in The Calgarth of who is a trespasser. Mrs Geary slid down the banisters leading from the first to the ground floor of the Union Rooms in Newcastle. She lost her balance, toppled over and struck her head on the stone floor suffering devastating injuries. Her claim for damages was dismissed by Coulson J. The judge held that there was nothing unsafe about the state of the premises so as to give rise to liability under either the 1957 or 1984 Occupiers Liability Acts. Further, he rejected the Claimant’s argument that Wetherspoons owed her and were in breach of a free-standing duty of care. He also found that the answer to any claim however put was that the Claimant herself – as she very frankly acknowledged in cross-examination – voluntarily assumed all risk of injury so as to defeat any 1957/1984 Act claims pursuant to sections 2(5) and 1(6) respectively and, at common law, according to what used to be known as the maxim ‘volenti non fit iniuria’  

William Norris QC and Camilla Church, instructed by Beachcroft

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