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Nicholls v Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1963 - 11/07/13


The Claimant had sued the Defendant betting company for psychiatric harm after she had been working as a cashier in a betting shop which had been robbed at gunpoint. Her claim was brought in negligence and for breach of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 . The Claimant alleged that the Defendant was negligent for failing to carry out a risk assessment and failing to operate a magnetic lock on the front door after the hours of darkness. At trial the judge found for the Claimant and the Defendant appealed.

The Court of Appeal, with Jackson LJ dissenting, allowed the appeal. The judge had been swayed by the Defendant's use of a magnetic lock in shops which were closed for business. However he was wrong to go further and conclude that a magnetic lock should be used during opening hours to vet customers upon entry. There was no evidence to establish that the premises faced any particularly serious threat and to impose such a duty on the Defendant. It was not a breach of duty to leave the use of the magnetic lock to the discretion of the manager.