Tunbridge Forum fights off moshpit claim

August 2006

Live event industry

The Forum venue in Tunbridge Wells has won a legal battle after a judge threw out a claim brought by a member of the audience who was injured whilst ‘moshing’ at a Raging Speedhorn concert. The claim was brought on a “no win, no fee” basis. The venue received massive support from loyal music fans who raised over £10,000 from their own pockets towards legal costs estimated at over £20,000 and also generated a petition with over 15,000 signatures supporting the venue. Spokesman Mark Davyd pointed out that the Forum successfully argued that the venue had a disclaimer about mosh pits on all of their tickets, they had disclaimers on venue walls saying that customers shouldn’t get involved in moshing and a very heavily advertised policy that mosh pits were allowed but were by their very nature likely to cause injury. Davyd added that “it’s been extremely expensive to defend – but we were left with no choice ….. the other option was to accept that we would regularly have to fork out thousands of pounds to anybody that asked for it on the grounds that we were responsible for whatever they did to themselves. We would also have had to consider banning certain types of bands, massively increasing ticket prices, and basically changing every aspect of what we do to reflect our increased liabilities.” The Forum also had to take legal action against their own insurers to prevent them from paying out for this claim (without challenge) before the case went to court. Davyd said that their public liability insurers would have been happy to settle the claim and simply increase the insurance premium paid by the Forum by an equivalent amount plus 25% (against any future claims) in the following years. The case again shows that the British courts are prepared to make sensible decisions to curb the excesses of the compensation culture. In both Tomlinson v Congleton Borough Council (2004) (archive, December2004])and Lewis v Six Continents (2006) (Archive February 2006) the courts (the House of Lords and Court of Appeal respectively) made it clear that they would restrict ‘compensation culture’ cases where no actual fault lay with (here) the occupier. InTomlinsona young man who was seriously injured after he dived into a lake where swimming was banned failed in his attempt to win compensation from the local authority who managed the park and inLewis an adult male who had an unexplained fall from a hotel window with only a 30cm aperture failed in his attempt to sue the hotel for his injuries.

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