The term ‘occupier’ is misleading since physical occupation is not necessary for liability to
arise. Occupiers’ liability is possibly a distinct form of negligence in that there must be a duty
of care and breach of duty, causing damage. The rules of remoteness apply to occupier’s
liability in the exact same way that they apply to negligence claims.
Occupiers Liability Act 1957 – imposes obligation on lawful visitors
Occupiers Liability Act 1984– imposes liability on occupiers other than ‘his visitors’
Duty of care
S2(2) Occupiers Liability Act 1957:
S.2(2) – ‘The common duty of care is to take such care as in all the circumstances of the
case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for
the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there.’
Thus the standard of care varies according to the circumstances. The legislation refers to
two particular situations where the standard may vary: – S.2(3)(a) – an occupier must be prepared for children to be less careful than adults
– S.2(3)(b) – an occupier may expect that a person in the exercise of his calling will
appreciate and guard against any special risks ordinarily incident to it.
S1(3) Occupiers Liability Act 1984:
An occupier of premises owes a duty to another (not being his visitor) in respect of any such
risk as is referred to in subsection (1) above if —
a) he is aware of the danger or has reasonable grounds to believe that it exists;
b) he knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that the other is in the vicinity of
the danger concerned or that he may come into the vicinity of the danger (in either
case, whether the other has lawful authority for being in that vicinity or not); and
c) the risk is one against which, in all the circumstances of the case, he may
reasonably be expected to offer the other some protection.