Just after 9pm on 16 April 2006 Mr Swinburne fell and injured himself whilst climbing a short flight of stairs from a garage area to the residential flats. He attributed his fall to the negligence of the landlord who failed to erect a handrail on the stairs.
Although the court ruled in favour of Mr Swinburne, the ruling highlighted a few important legal points. It stated that “In general the legal position is that people are not under a legal duty to prevent physical harm to others, whatever moral duty they may be … under.
However in certain circumstances a legal duty to prevent harm or to protect another against harm may arise.” The ruling then went on to explain that one of those significant exceptions is the safety of premises “… it is the owner’s legal duty to ensure that the premises are safe for those that use them. That is so whether one is dealing with trespassers, invitees or others … such as tenants.”
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