Page 50 - Study Law Book

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embodied in a transcript as a person ‘making a statement in a document”. Where there
is direct evidence as to what occurred there is no need to rely upon inferences.
Bradford v Robinson Rentals Ltd [1967] – employer’s duty to provide necessary
October 24, 1966 Negligence — Safe system of work — Foreseeability of injury —
Injury of unusual kind — Employee required to perform unusual task — Radio and
television mobile service engineer required to drive long distance to exchange vehicles
Cold weather resulting in cold injury (“frostbite”) —Whether frostbite foreseeable
British Railways Board v Herrington [1971] – duty of common humanity in
relation to trespassers
British Railways Board v Herrington
A six year old boy was electrocuted and suffered severe burns when he wondered from
a play park onto a live railway line. The railway line was surrounded by a fence
however, part of the fence had been pushed down and the gap created had been used
frequently as a short cut to the park. The defendant was aware of the gap in the fence
which had been present for several months, but had failed to do anything about it.
Under existing authority of Addie v Dumbreck no duty of care was owed to trespassers.
However, the House of Lords departed from their previous decision using the 1966
Practice Statement and held that the defendant railway company did owe a duty of
common humanity to trespassers.
Lord Pearson:
It seems to me that the rule in Addie v. Dumbreck has been rendered obsolete by
changes in physical and social conditions and has become an encumbrance impeding
the proper development of the law. With the increase of the population and the larger
proportion living in cities and towns and the extensive substitution of blocks of flats for
rows of houses with gardens or back yards and quiet streets, there is less playing space
for children and so a greater temptation to trespass. There is less supervision of
children, so that they are more likely to trespass. Also with the progress of technology
there are more and greater dangers for them to encounter by reason of the increased
use of, for instance, electricity, gas, fast moving vehicles, heavy machinery and
poisonous chemicals. There is considerably more need than there used to be for
occupiers to take reasonable steps with a view to deterring persons, especially children,
from trespassing in places that are dangerous for them.
In my opinion the Addie v. Dumbreck formulation of the duly of occupier to trespasser
is plainly inadequate for modern conditions, and its rigid and restrictive character has
impeded the proper development of the common law in this field. It has become an
anomaly and should be discarded."