Pierre and Danielle take their two boys, Luc (7 years old) and Jean (11 years old), to the Fawlty
Towers World of Adventure for the day. As they pay and enter the theme park, there are notices
displayed which state that visitors enter at their own risk. Pierre cuts his arm badly on the sharp
edge of the metal seat on the Mad Maxx ride. Later in the afternoon, whilst the family is watching a
parade through the park, Luc runs off and, ignoring warning signs, goes through a gate next to the
Raging Rapids log flume ride and is injured by the machinery that operates the ride.
Consider the theme park’s potential liability in tort for the loss sustained by Pierre and Luc in the
situation above. How successful might any defences be?
Occupiers Liability is where a person has reasonable control over the premise and hence owes a duty of care to the visitors under the OLA 1957. The common duty of care is to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there.
In this case, the theme park is the occupier as they have sufficient degree of control over the premise -the Fawlty Towers World of Adventure. As they are paying customers, they are contractual visitors to whom the common duty of care is owed. In the case of Harris v Birkenhead Corporation, the defendants failed to board up a house. The claimants, a 4 year old child climbed into the house through an unsecured door and fell from the second floor window. The defendants was said to be liable as they had the legal authority to control the premise and had been negligent in doing so.