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Jolley v Sutton [2000] 1 WLR 1082

Two 14 year old boys found an abandoned boat on land owned by the council and decided to do it up. The boat was in a thoroughly rotten condition and represented a danger. The council had stuck a notice on the boat warning not to touch the boat and that if the owner did not claim the boat within 7 days it would be taken away. The council never took it away. The boys had been working on the boat for 6-7 weeks when one of them suffered severe spinal
injuries, resulting in paraplegia, when the boat fell on top of him. The boys had jacked the boat up to work on the underside and the jack went through the rotten wood. The claimant brought an action under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984. The trial judge found for the claimant. The Court of Appeal reversed the decision, holding that whilst it was foreseeable that younger children may play on the boat and suffer an injury by falling through the rotten wood, it was not foreseeable that older boys would try to do the boat up. The claimant appealed.

House of Lords held:

The claimant's appeal was allowed. The risk was that children would "meddle with the boat at the risk of some physical injury" The actual injury fell within that description.

Lord Steyn:
"The scope of the two modifiers - the precise manner in which the injury came about and its extent - is not definitively answered by either The Wagon Mound (No. 1) or Hughes v. Lord Advocate. It requires determination in the context of an intense focus on the circumstances of each case."
 
 
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