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McKew v Holland [1969] 3 All ER 1621

The claimant sustained an injury at work due to his employer's breach of duty. He strained his back and hips and his leg was prone to giving way. Whilst in this state he attempted to climb down a steep concrete staircase without a handrail unaided. He got part way down and felt his leg give way so he jumped 10 steps to the bottom. He suffered a fractured right ankle and was also left with a permanent disability. The defendant accepted liability for the injury sustained during his employment but disputed liability for the second injuries resulting from the claimant's action in jumping down the stairs.


The claimant's action amounted to a novus actus interveniens because his action in attempting to climb the steps unaided knowing that his leg might give way was unreasonable. The defendant was therefore not liable for the injuries resulting from the incident on the stairs.
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