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   Case summaries      Cotton v Derbyshire

Cotton v Derbyshire Dales District Council [1994] EWCA Civ 17 Court of Appeal

The claimant, a 26 year old man, had gone out for the day with a group of friends and his fiancé over the Easter bank holiday.  They had visited 3 pubs where the claimant had drunk about 4 pints. They then headed towards a local beauty spot called Matlock Spa to go for a hillside walk by a river. The party were in high spirits and became separated. The claimant and his fiancé drifted from the pathway and he was seriously injured when he fell off a cliff. There was a sign at one entrance to Matlock stating “For your own enjoyment and safety please keep to the footpath. The cliffs can be very dangerous, and children must be kept under close supervision.” However, there was no such sign at the entrance used by the claimant. The claimant brought an action based on the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 for the failure to adequately warn him of the risk.


There was no obligation to warn of an obvious risk. The claimant would have been aware of the existence of the cliff so such a warning would not have affected events.
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