Health & Safety

I have previously blogged about a golfer, Mr Phee who sued a Golf Club and a fellow golfer for a serious eye injury. The Court of Session had previously found both the Club and the golfer liable for the injuries, with the golfer 70% liable and the Club 30%. There was no deduction for contributory negligence.

The case has been appealed to the Inner House of the Court of Session. The Opinion, delivered by Lord Hodge has now been issued. On appeal, the Inner House agreed that the golfer and the Club had both been negligent and remained liable for Mr Phee’s injury. However, the division of liability between them was changed to 80% to the club and 20% to the golfer. There remains no deduction for contributory negligence.

The key part of the Opinion is as follows:

“Golfers of varying standards will have driven from the 18th tee while players, including inexperienced visitors, used the path. The risk of a wayward shot will vary according to the golfer’s skill. The circumstances which we have stated… suggest to us that the Club’s failure to warn was a significant failure which was of a different magnitude from that of [the golfer]. As we have said, we are of the view that the Lord Ordinary was entitled to find fault on [the golfer’s] part. But we consider that some might judge his behaviour as not amounting to negligence when the players were at a distance at which most could be expected to respond appropriately and in a timely manner to a warning shout.”

So although only 20% to blame, the golfer still remained liable. This will make worrying reading to those of us who enjoy a trip on the golf course, along with the odd wild hook into the trees. Employers should also take note for potential liabilities arising from corporate golf outings for example.

If there are any issues arising from this case which you would like to discuss, please get in touch.

Health and Safety

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Health and Safety