Insurance Bottomley -v- Secretary & Members of Todmorden Cricket Club and Others

November 2003

Live Concert Industry

A seemingly uninteresting case involving a cricket club could have important ramificatons for the live event industry in the UK. In the Court of Appeal decision a small cricket club which engaged an independent contractor to put on a pyrotechnics (fireworks) display at the ground was held to owe a duty to ensure that the contractor had adequate public liability insurance. It made no difference that the contractors were paid a fee. Lord Justice Brookes said there might be many occasions when an occupier could be liable in negligence in respect of activities permitted or encouraged on his land. Here, the club allowed a dangerous event to take place on its land with no written safety plan and no insurance and the occupier could not show that they had taken reasonable care to select a competent contractor. The club was therefore liable in damages for injuries sustained by the claimant who had been employed by the contractor to help with the event. If the occupier of the premises could show that they had taken reasonable care to select a competent and safe contractor then they would normally escape liability. In those circumstances an injured employee or agent would have to look to their employer or the contractor for compensation. But, if an occupier wants something dangerous done on their land then a liability may be imposed on the occupier (as well as the contractor) in certain circumstances. On the facts of the case this was one of those instances.

See: The Times Law Reports, 13 November 2003

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