London Underground not liable for trespassers death

London Underground not liable for trespassers death

March 25, 2022

In January 2017, a 35 year-old IT specialist who was intoxicated and trying to make his way home during freezing conditions, went through a barrier and gates reserved for emergency use only, at Canning Town station. The gates closed behind him preventing him from returning to the platform.  After take a wrong turn he fell down a flight of stairs and was discovered six hours later during which time he had died from head injuries.

As a trespasser he would have been owed a duty of care under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1984 (OLA), but it was a lesser duty than would apply if he was regarded as a lawful visitor.

It was found that the man was not a lawful visitor because he had “exceeded the well signposted limits of his permission” i.e. there were substantial gates, barriers and warning signs.

You have a duty to protect trespassers from harm, but only to the extent that the premises must not be in a dangerous state.  After investigation, the staircase in this situation met expected standards and was in good repair.

Review your premises to ensure that areas that out of bounds to visitors are clearly marked.  Protective measures should be taken to deal with anything especially hazardous, even if no one is supposed to go there.

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