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Driver v Dover Roman Painted House Trust [2014] QBD (John Leighton Williams QC) - 11/04/14


Dismissal of occupier's liability claim brought by woman who fell from wall after evening out.

The Claimant ('C') claimed damages for a head injury she sustained after falling from a wall. The wall was three foot high and surrounded a sunken moat that surrounded a Roman house. Trees and shrubs had grown in the moat. C had no memory of how she fell, although her friend said they had been drinking and were waiting for a taxi when the accident happened. C argued that the wall was a trap and that the wall should have been higher or better lit.

The Judge found that C's friend was not a persuasive witness and that the evidence pointed to both having been drinking and C having attempted to relieve herself on the other side of the wall at the time of the fall. In respect of the claim under the OLA 1957, the Judge found that the relevant test was whether the Defendant ('D') had impliedly consented to the activity. Any permission C might have had to enter the area did not extend to going to the toilet and so she was a trespasser in law. In respect of the claim under the OLA 1984, the wall was adequate and well lit and so there had been no actionable breach.


  • High Court (Queen's Bench Division)
  • Friday, 13 June 2014